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"Cotton Fields" is a song written by blues musician Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly who made the first recording of the song in 1940.

The Beach Boys recorded "Cotton Fields" on November 18, 1968: the track with Al Jardine on lead vocals debuted on the group's 1969 album 20/20.

Dissatisfied with Brian Wilson's arrangement of the song, Jardine later led the group to record a more country-rock style version; this version recorded on August 15, 1969 featured Orville "Red" Rhodes on pedal steel guitar. Entitled "Cottonfields", the track afforded the Beach Boys' their most widespread international success while also consolidating the end of the group's hitmaking career in the US (although they would enjoy periodic comebacks there). "Cottonfields" would be the final Beach Boys' single released on Capitol Records - the group's label since May 1962 - and their last single released in mono.

While barely making a dent in the U.S. (#95 Record World, #103 Billboard) though promoted with an appearance on the network TV pop show Something Else, the song succeeded across the Atlantic, reaching number two in the UK's Melody Maker chart and listed as the tenth biggest seller of the year by the New Musical Express. Worldwide — outside North America — it virtually replicated the success of the group's "Do It Again" two years before. It was number 1 in Australia, South Africa, Sweden and Norway, number 2 in Denmark, number 3 in Ireland, similarly top 5 in the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain and Rhodesia; number 12 in Holland, number 13 in New Zealand and number 29 in Germany. Because of this popularity, it was placed on the international (ex-US) release of the group's Sunflower album.

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