On This Date: Willie & Waylon Were Topping The Charts With Their All-Time Classic “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”

willie nelson and waylon jennings country music
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Talk about an all-time classic country song.

On this date 46 years ago in 1978, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson were topping the country charts with their hit “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”

First recorded by Ed Bruce and co-written with his wife Patsy, Waylon and Willie covered the song on their iconic 1978 duets album Waylon & Willie.

Of course, their version became extremely popular, and spent four weeks at the top of the country charts in 1978. They even won the Grammy award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1979.

Waylon actually had initially tried to record it solo, but didn’t like how it turned out, so he asked Willie to join him for a duet, even though he still wasn’t completely sold on the song:

“Me and Willie were talking about recording again, and I said, ‘Willie, I cut this thing, but I ain’t sure about it.’

I said, ‘It don’t sound right, but it might be a great duet.’ The whole record was finished, and I just took part of my voice and put his on.”

Willie went on to cut it solo a few more times later on, including a version for the 1979 movie The Electric Horseman.

Honestly, I’m not so sure country music didn’t peak with this:

I’ve always loved their live performance of it from that iconic American Outlaws: Live at Nassau Coliseum show in 1990 too, where they’re joined by fellow Highwaymen Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson:


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock