January 9 2021

Don’t let your babies grow up to pick guitars

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“Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to pick guitars is what I said first.. I thought wait a minute and I changed it to cowboys.”


I learned via Fox News that his publicist, Jeremy Westby confirmed that Country singer/ songwriter Ed Bruce died on Friday of natural causes at his home in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Ed Bruce is famous for writing the iconic hit song, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”  The song was co-written with his wife Patsy Bruce. His version of the song can be heard on a 1976 self-titled album published by United Artist Records. Bruce’s version reached number 15 on the Hot Country Singles charts in 1976.

Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” would become even more famous after Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings released the song on their 1978 duet album, Waylon & Willie. The Waylon/ Willie version peaked to number one in March of ’78. The song would spend a month at the top of the country charts. The song also earned a Grammy Award for the pair of outlaws for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Willie Nelson’s version featured in the 1979 film The Electric Horseman which starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

In 1994 Gibson/Miller band recorded a cover version of the song which was featured in the soundtrack for the movie The Cowboy Way. The Gibson/Miller version reached #49 on the charts.

Shooter Jennings recorded a version that appeared as the introduction to the Netflix Series, The Ranch.

My wife and I both agree that, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” is one of the most memorable songs from our childhood. She recalled listening to the song with her brother J. on the way to “grandma’s house.” For me I think it was probably the first song that I remember knowing all of the words to. I recall singing the song along with the radio on family trips as well.

Members of the Western Writers of America chose the song as one of the top 100 Western songs of all time. -Wikipedia

Other songs in the Ed Bruce catalog are “My First Taste of Texas,” “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had,” and “The Last Cowboy Song.”

You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had” saw the top of the country charts in 1982.

William Edwin Bruce Jr. Was born December 29, 1939 in Keiser, Arkansas. He first caught the attention of Sun Records owner Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee where he wrote and recorded under the name Edwin Bruce. Ed Bruce did release many songs by himself but most of his success was through the songs he had written that were recorded by other people.

Ed would set his songwriting aside in the mid to late 80’s and turn to acting. He appeared in some made for TV films and hosted the shows, Truckin’ USA and American Sports Calvacade. With Stephen Seagal, Ed Bruce would appear on the big screen in the movie Fire Down Below.

Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold

They’d rather give you a song than diamonds or gold

Lone star belt buckles and old faded Levi’s

And each night begins a new day

If you don’t understand him, and he don’t die young

He’ll probably just ride away

Songwriters: Ed Bruce/ Patsy Bruce

And If you don’t understand him, and he don’t die young, He’ll probably just ride away,


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Posted January 9, 2021 by Cody Watson in category "Pancho Palace

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