Ray Charles' sole #1 hit on the Country chart is a Spanish-flavored duet with Willie Nelson about a pair of outlaw lovers who are gunned down by Texas lawmen. Nashville songwriters Troy Seals and Eddie Setser had the late Marty Robbins' classic Tejano tunes in mind when they wrote the tragic song.
"We started writing, hoping we could emulate Marty Robbins and 'El Paso
,'" Seals explained in The Billboard Book Of Number One Country Hits
. "We didn't think we had a song like that, but that whole flavor of the Southwest and cowboys. Of course, the chorus is kind of an old wives' tale, and old story that's been handed down."
Seals and Setser sent out copies of the finished demo to both Nelson and Billy Sherrill, who was producing Charles' Friendship
album. Sherrill originally wanted Charles to sing it with Ronnie Milsap, but Milsap declined the offer, so he reached out to Nelson to consider doing it as a duet instead of a solo track. Nelson recorded his vocals in Texas, and Sherrill combined them with Charles tracks and added strings and backing voices.