Rest in Peace, Ed Bruce

Ed Bruce, who wrote the hit “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” has died at the age of 81.

Ed Bruce, photo by Redferns

Ed Bruce, the country singer-songwriter behind hits including “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” died Friday, January 8th in Clarksville, Tennessee, from natural causes, according to his publicist. He was 81.

William Edwin Bruce Jr. was born December 29th, 1939, in Keiser, Arkansas, and raised in nearby Memphis, Tennessee. That put him in close proximity to Sun Records engineer Jack Clement and owner Sam Phillips, who signed him at 17 to release the 1957 rockabilly side “Rock Boppin’ Baby.”

Bruce would later record with RCA and Wand/Scepter, but had some of his biggest early successes as a songwriter for others, including “Save Your Kisses” for Tommy Roe and “See the Big Man Cry” for Charlie Louvin. In the 1974, Tanya Tucker scored a Top Five hit with Bruce’s “The Man That Turned My Mama On” and Crystal Gayle reached the Top 40 with “Restless.”

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