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Patsy Bruce (1940–2021), country music songwriter

by Linnea Crowther

Patsy Bruce was a country music songwriter who co-wrote “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” with her then-husband, Ed Bruce (1949–2021).

Songwriting and more

Bruce and her husband co-wrote “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” in 1975. She was responsible for the song’s iconic title: Ed had been working on a song called “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Guitar Players,” when Patsy suggested a tweak that made it work. It was first recorded by Ed, who had a modest hit with the song before it became a country music standard thanks to the No. 1 hit duet by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings (1937–2002). The couple also wrote “Texas” (When I Die),” a hit for Tanya Tucker, and they ran the Ed Bruce Talent Agency in Nashville before their 1987 divorce. Bruce was president of the Nashville Songwriters Association International for several years. In later years, she founded Songbird Tours, a songwriting-focused Nashville tour company.

Tributes to Patsy Bruce

Full obituary: Tennessean

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