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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 11:46 GMT
Nelson releases gay cowboy song
Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson also performs on Brokeback Mountain's soundtrack
Country music star Willie Nelson has released a tune about gay cowboy romance for Valentine's Day.

Nelson said the release, Cowboys Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond of Each Other), was timed to coincide with Oscar hopeful Brokeback Mountain.

The song, originally written in 1981, was played for the first time on Howard Stern's radio show on Tuesday.

"The song's been in the closet for 20 years. The timing's right for it to come out," said Nelson.

'Special meaning'

"I'm just opening the door," added the performer, who recorded the track at his home in Texas last year.

The song is being exclusively released for download via the Apple iTunes music store.

Brokeback Mountain
Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other, what did you think those saddles and boots was about? There's many a cowboy who don't understand the way that he feels towards his brother, inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out

Speaking to the Dallas Morning News, Nelson's manager David Anderson, who revealed that he was gay two years ago, said he wanted the song to reflect well on the singer.

"This song obviously has special meaning to me in more ways than one," said Mr Anderson."

I want people to know more than anything - gay, straight, whatever - just how cool Willie is and ... his way of thinking, his tolerance, everything about him," he added.

The Broken Lizard Comedy Troupe are to film a video to accompany the song, which will also be available via the iTunes online store.

Nelson also features on the soundtrack of Brokeback Mountain, singing He Was A Friend of Mine, which hit number 54 in the US charts earlier this year.

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