After the brutal year the country music community endured in 2020, it appears as though 2021 is picking up right where we left off.
Famous country music singer/songwriter Ed Bruce passed away last night at the age of 81 due to natural causes in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Bruce was a highly touted songwriter in the 1970s and 1980’s, who is most well known for writing Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ hit song, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys.”
Bruce originally sang the song, and it peaked at number 15 on the Hot Country Singles chart in 1976. Perhaps the song is most well known for Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s version, which hit number one in 1978. Nelson and Jennings won a Grammy for “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” in 1979 with the song. It was also voted by the Western Writers of America as one of the top 100 western songs of all time.
“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. 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 Waylon cut it and drug Willie in off the streets and overdubbed him, and gosh it was No. 1 for two or three more weeks. It was a good song.”
Bruce wrote and cut his own song “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had,” which reached number one on the Hot Country Singles chart in 1982.
It was his greatest hit as a singer.
He also had several other hit songs in the early 80’s, such as “Diane,” “The Last Cowboy Song,” “When You Fall in Love,” “Evil Angel,” “My First Taste of Texas,” and “After All.”
Bruce was also the mastermind behind Tanya Tucker’s 1974 song, “The Man That Turned my Mama on.” This song reached as high as number four on the Hot Country Singles chart in 1974.
Bruce also wrote Tucker’s hit single “Texas (When I Die),” which also cracked the top five on the Hot Country Singles chart in 1977.
He also wrote Crystal Gayle’s hit song “Restless” in 1974.
The man even had a brief acting career in the late 80’s. He hosted two shows, Truckin’ USA and American Sports Cavalcade. He also had the second lead on the 1980’s revival of the 1950’s hit tv show, Maverick, titled Bret Maverick. Bruce sang and wrote the theme song to the show as well.
Ed Bruce’s legacy will live on forever, as he pioneered the way for some of the greatest country/western hits of all time.