'Tumbling Tumbleweeds.' Cowboy song identified with the US country-music group Sons of the Pioneers, of which the Canadian-born composer Bob Nolan was a member and later the leader. It was originally written as 'Tumbling Leaves' but revised in 1934 as 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds,' an evocation of the American western prairie. Introduced in 1935 in the movie of the same name by Gene Autry (who sang it again in 1945 in Don't Fence Me In), it was performed also by Roy Rogers in Silver Spurs (1943) and by the Sons of the Pioneers in Hollywood Canteen (1944). Recordings were made by Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, Hank Snow, the Rhythm Pals, the Gatlin Brothers, Willie Nelson, and other country artists and by such pop singers as Perry Como, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Jo Stafford, and Patti Page. As recorded by Bing Crosby (Decca 3024), it was a hit in 1940. The song was published by Williamson Music and Sam Fox and has remained popular with small male-voice ensembles. It was the theme song of the Sons of the Pioneers for several decades.
The Sons of the Pioneers 1934 Decca recording of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.