Springsteen said in a 2017 interview with Variety
that Western Stars
was inspired by the Southern California pop records of the 1960s and '70s by artists such as Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb
and Burt Bacharach. Springsteen added that he wrote most of the record in the early 2010s, stopped work on it to make 2012's Wrecking Ball
, then returned to it.
This tune reflects the influences Springsteen mentioned, incorporating Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell's lonesome vibe and the orchestration of Burt Bacharach's pop hits.