Ed Bruce, Country Music Star and 'Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys' Writer, Dead at 81

Country music star Ed Bruce, who co-wrote the classic song "Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," has died at the age of 81. According to a press release from Bruce's representatives, the country music legend died of natural causes. The press release also revealed that Bruce passed away in Clarksville, Tennessee, just north of Nashville.

Bruce is most well known for helping to pen "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," in 1976. That song would go on to be a huge hit for outlaw country icons Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Though, the tune was a top 20 hit for Bruce back before Nelson and Jennings recorded their version. Speaking about the song in a 2012 interview, Bruce said, "It was a top 15 record for me. And actually, when I finished writing it, there was a question of whether I was gonna record it or whether I wanted to pitch it to Waylon."

He continued: "There was no doubt in my mind it was a No. 1 song. It wound up I had the best of both worlds, really. Because it established me as an artist, and of course later Waylon cut it and drug Willie in off the street and overdubbed him, and gosh, it was No. 1 for two or three more weeks. [The song remained on top for four weeks, actually.] It was a good song." Other songs that Bruce wrote, or co-wrote, include "You're the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had," "Rockin' Boppin' Baby" and "The Man That Turned My Mama On."

Upon hearing the news of Bruce's passing, many of my country music peers, and fans, have taken to social media to express their sorrow. "Just hearing that Ed Bruce passed away," tweeted Blake Shelton. "What a stand-alone voice he had. He'll be remembered for his many talents including acting and maybe most important his songwriting... Rest In Peace cowboy. I'm not loving 2021 so far."


"We have lost another friend and songwriter today," added the Oak Ridge Boys. "Rest Easy Ed Bruce. Many will remember him for songs like 'Mama Don't Let Your Baby's Grow Up To Be Cowboys' but we shall remember him for a song called "I Know." Look it up for a blessing. Goodbye brother and Thank You."