Ed Bruce is an American country music songwriter, singer and actor….who is best known for writing the 1975 song “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”….and recording the 1982 country # 1 hit “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had”. He also co-starred in the television series Bret Maverick with James Garner during the 1981-82 season.
In 1957, at the age of 17, he went to see Jack Clement, a recording engineer for Sun Records…..and caught the attention of Sun owner Sam Phillips….for whom he wrote and recorded “Rock Boppin’ Baby” ….and then in 1962, he wrote “Save Your Kisses” for pop star Tommy Roe….and in 1963 he reached # 109 on the Billboard“Bubbling Under” chart with his own recording of “See the Big Man Cry”….when Charlie Louvin recorded “See the Big Man Cry” in 1965….which reached # 7 on the Billboard “Country Singles” chart. During his career many songs that Bruce wrote and recorded were more successful when re-recorded by others.
In 1966, Ed Bruce returned to RCA and recorded “Puzzles”, “The Price I Pay to Stay” and “Lonesome Is Me”…..but still did not achieve great charting action…..so, he made money doing voice-overs for television and radio commercials. He scored his first charted single with “Walker’s Woods” in 1967…. and also charted with his version of The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville”….as both of these singles were minor hits. In 1969, Bruce signed with Monument Records, where he continued to have minor successes with “Everybody Wants To Get To Heaven” and “Song For Jenny”…..meanwhile, he continued to write songs like “The Man That Turned My Mama On”….which was a major hit for Tanya Tucker in 1974 ….and “Restless” for Crystal Gayle the same year. He signed with United Artists Records in 1973 and released several singles….but only one single in 1974 became a minor hit. He finally made the upper regions of the charts when he made the Top 20 on the country charts with his version of “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”….which is a song he wrote with then-wife Patsy Bruce, in 1976.
As seen in this video herewith….Ed Bruce perform “Holding Back The Time” live on stage at Austin City Limits in 1983.