Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys

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"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
Single by Ed Bruce
from the album Ed Bruce
B-side "It's Not What She's Done (It's What You Didn't Do)"[1]
Released November 15, 1975
Format 7" single
Genre Country
Length 3:08
Label United Artists #732
Writer(s) Ed Bruce
Patsy Bruce
Producer(s) Lary Butler[2]
Ed Bruce singles chronology
"July, You're a Woman"
(1973)
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
(1975)
"The Littlest Cowboy Rides Again"
(1976)

"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" is a country music song first recorded by Ed Bruce, written by him and wife Patsy Bruce. His version of the song appears on his 1976 self-titled album for United Artists Records. In late 1975–early 1976, Bruce's rendition of the song went to number 15 on the Hot Country Singles charts. This song was featured on Chris LeDoux's 1976 album, Songbook of the American West, and in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game soundtrack, on the fictitious radio station K-Rose.

Members of the Western Writers of America chose the song as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[3]

Content[edit]

The narrator warns mothers not to let their children become cowboys because of the tough and busy life of cowboy culture.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1975–1976) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[5] 15
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 36

Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson version[edit]

"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
Single by Waylon Jennings with Willie Nelson
from the album Waylon & Willie
B-side "I Can Get Off on You"[6]
Released January 1978
Format 7" single
Genre Country
Length 2:31
Label RCA
Producer(s) Waylon Jennings
Willie Nelson
Waylon Jennings chronology
"The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You)"
(1977)
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
(1978)
"There Ain't No Good Chain Gang"
(1978)
Willie Nelson chronology
"Something to Brag About"
(1977)
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
(1978)
"If You Can Touch Her at All"
(1978)

Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson covered the song on their 1978 duet album Waylon & Willie. This rendition peaked at No. 1 in March 1978, spending four weeks atop the country music charts. It also reached 42 on the Billboard Hot 100, and won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[6] Also in 1979, Nelson's version was featured in the film The Electric Horseman with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. This version was covered by Alvin and the Chipmunks as "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Chipmunks" for their 1981 album Urban Chipmunk. It is also featured in a 2015 TV commercial for the Volkswagen Passat.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 42
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[9] 33
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 57
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 42

Gibson/Miller Band version[edit]

"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
Single by Gibson/Miller Band
from the album Red, White and Blue Collar
B-side "Johnny Get Your Gun"[10]
Released 1994
Format CD single
Genre Country
Length 3:27
Label Epic
Producer(s) Doug Johnson
Blue Miller
Gibson/Miller Band singles chronology
"Stone Cold Country"
(1994)
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"
(1994)
"Red, White and Blue Collar"
(1994)

In 1994, country music group Gibson/Miller Band recorded a cover version on its album Red, White and Blue Collar. This version peaked at #49 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and was featured in the soundtrack for the movie The Cowboy Way.[10] It also appeared on the band's second and final studio album, Red, White and Blue Collar.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[11] 71
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[12] 49
Preceded by
"Don't Break the Heart That Loves You"
by Margo Smith
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
(Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson version)

March 4–25, 1978
Succeeded by
"Ready for the Times to Get Better"
by Crystal Gayle
Preceded by
"To Daddy"
by Emmylou Harris
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
(Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson version)

March 18 – April 1, 1978
Succeeded by
"I Might as Well Believe (I'll Live Forever)"
by Carroll Baker
Preceded by
"Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)"
by Waylon Jennings
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single of the year
(Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson version)

1978
Succeeded by
"I Just Fall in Love Again"
by Anne Murray

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 67. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=ySQEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT43&dq=%22ed+bruce%22+%22mamas+don%27t+let%22+%22larry+butler%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xW0VUr3zA-Lj4AOdtIDAAg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22ed%20bruce%22%20%22mamas%20don%27t%20let%22%20%22larry%20butler%22&f=false
  3. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Randall, Alice; Carter Little; Courtney Little (2006). My Country Roots: The Ultimate MP3 Guide to America's Original Outsider Music. Thomas Nelson, Inc. p. 92. ISBN 1-59555-860-8. 
  5. ^ "Ed Bruce – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Ed Bruce.
  6. ^ a b Whitburn, p. 209
  7. ^ Illegal name entered Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson/Waylon+Jennings+and+Willie+Nelson/chart?f=357 "Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
  8. ^ Illegal name entered Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson/Waylon+Jennings+and+Willie+Nelson/chart?f=379 "Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
  9. ^ Illegal name entered Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson/Waylon+Jennings+and+Willie+Nelson/chart?f=341 "Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
  10. ^ a b Whitburn, p. 159
  11. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2548." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. August 1, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  12. ^ "Gibson/Miller Band – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Gibson/Miller Band.

External links[edit]