Me and Billy the Kid Never Got Along

Album: Lord of the Highway (1987)

Songfacts®:

  • Joe Ely has a strong penchant for character-driven songs that tell an emotional story. "Me and Billy the Kid Never Got Along" is a hallmark example of that, building a narrative entirely imagined on Ely's part around a well-known figure. He explained to Songfacts that he came up with the idea for the song while visiting a Fort Sumner museum and realizing there were no exhibits on Billy the Kid, who'd always fascinated him. "All the accounts that I'd read of him, you really couldn't tell which account was on the level and which wasn't," Ely explained. "So I decided to make up my own story."
  • Further elaborating on the song, and his songwriting in general, Ely added that he "likes to take things that happened to me and things that I have witnessed and create characters and put the characters in a scene, and then I follow them around and just try to see what they would do."
  • "Lord of the Highway" is also a moniker occasionally used to refer to Ely himself. The album saw him recording with a revamped lineup.

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