Track of the Day: 'Ooh Las Vegas' by the Cowboy Junkies

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

I wish I had gotten this note from reader Scot Cooke prior to my long road trip to Provincetown last weekend:

I don’t have a creative story for this submission; I just think it’s an outstanding cover of an artist who probably doesn’t get the recognition as a songwriter that he deserves. Gram Parsons wrote many solid songs, and the cover of “Ooh Las Vegas” by the Cowboy Junkies is a great song to hear over the last few miles of a long road trip home. It just seems to get you through the home stretch, and at the same time get you looking forward to the next excursion ...

Here’s the original from Gram Parsons, whose much jauntier version is better for the beginning of the road trip, when you still have the energy to sing along.

Update from reader J.R.:

I saw the Cowboy Junkies years ago, opening for John Prine. Their show was like taking a nap—so, so dull. Emmylou [Harris]’s version of “Ooh Las Vegas” is my favorite.

Harris also joined Gram Parsons for an “Ooh Las Vegas” duet on his album Grievous Angel, which was released posthumously in 1974 after Parsons overdosed from morphine and alcohol. The pair’s cover of “Love Hurts” is their most famous duet.

(Track of the Day archive here. Earlier archive here. Submit via hello@.)