Michael Martin Murphey performing “Wildfire”

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“Wildfire” is a classic song written by Michael Martin Murphey and Larry Cansler. It was originally recorded by Murphey, who had yet to add his middle name to his recorded work, and appears on his gold-plus 1975 album Blue Sky – Night Thunder.


Released in February 1975, as the album’s lead single, “Wildfire” became Murphey’s highest-charting Pop hit in the United States. The somber story song hit #2 in Cash Box and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 1975. In addition, it reached the top position of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.


The single continued to sell, eventually receiving platinum certification from the RIAA, signifying sales of over two million US copies. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.


The lyrics are the ruminations of a homesteader who has become much disillusioned with farming and obsessed with the ghost of a young Nebraska woman said to have died searching for her escaped pony, “Wildfire”, during a blizzard. The homesteader hopes to catch up with the ghost mounted on her pony, and with them to escape from farming, which he bitterly calls “sodbusting”.


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