COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER/SONGWRITER ED BRUCE DIES AT AGE OF 81 Jan 22, 2021 11:05:01 GMT -6
Post by Scully on Jan 22, 2021 11:05:01 GMT -6
COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER/SONGWRITER ED BRUCE DIES AT AGE OF 81
Ed Bruce, singer/songwriter, died Friday, January 8, 2021, in Clarksville, Tennessee, of natural causes at age 81.
In 1957, at the age of 17, he went to see Jack Clement, a recording engineer for Sun Records. Bruce caught the attention of Sun owner Sam Phillips, for whom he wrote and recorded "Rock Boppin' Baby" (as "Edwin Bruce"). In 1962, he wrote "Save Your Kisses" for pop star Tommy Roe and in 1963 he reached No. 109 on the Billboard "Bubbling Under" chart with his own recording of "See the Big Man Cry" (Wand 140), both published by Bill Justis at Tuneville Music. Charlie Louvin recorded "See the Big Man Cry" (Capitol 5369) in 1965; Louvin's version reached No. 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 the early 1960s, Bruce recorded for RCA and some smaller labels like Wand/Scepter, singing rockabilly music, as well as more pop-oriented material such as "See the Big Man Cry." In 1966, he returned to RCA and recorded "Puzzles", "The Price I Pay to Stay" and "Lonesome Is Me". He still did not achieve great charting action. 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." 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", a song he co-wrote in 1976.
Two more Top 40 hits followed for Bruce in 1976, and in 1977, he signed with Epic Records where he would score minor hits. In 1978, "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys" was recorded by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. It became a major hit and continued the upward swing in Bruce's career. In 1979, Tanya Tucker took Bruce's 1977 song "Texas (When I Die)" into the country Top 5.
In 1980, Bruce signed with MCA Records, where he would score his biggest successes. His early hits with MCA included "Diane", "The Last Cowboy Song", "When You Fall In Love (Everything's A Waltz)", "Evil Angel", and "Love's Found You And Me". His biggest hit, "You're the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had" went to number one on the country chart in 1982. This also was Bruce's first Top 10 as a singer after 15 years. He had other hit songs that made the Top 10 like "Ever, Never Lovin' You", "My First Taste of Texas", and "After All".
In 1984, he returned to RCA Records and scored a No. 3 hit with "You Turn Me On Like A Radio" in 1985. His last Top 10 single was "Nights" in 1986 and his last Top 40 single (and last chart single to date) was "Quietly Crazy" in 1987.
During this time, Bruce began to act and do commercials. One of his biggest acting roles was as the second lead on the television revival of 1957's Maverick, called Bret Maverick. Starring James Garner as a legendary western gambler, the series ran on NBC-TV during the 1981-82 season but was unexpectedly canceled despite respectable ratings. Bruce played the surly town lawman who found himself reluctantly co-owning a saloon with Maverick, with whom he seemed to maintain a surreally adversarial relationship more or less throughout the entire season. Bruce also sang and wrote the theme song to the show, while Garner himself sang the same song over the end titles at the show's close, albeit while being relentlessly interrupted by network announcements about upcoming programming.
After the 1986 album entitled Night Things and a 1988 self-titled follow-up, Bruce made a conscious decision to cut back on his music to focus on his acting career, appearing in several made-for-TV films. He hosted two shows in the late 1980s, Truckin' USA and American Sports Cavalcade. Bruce has also appeared in several theatrical releases, including Fire Down Below with Steven Seagal.
Bruce was honored with the Arkansas Country Music Award for "Lifetime Achievement" on June 3, 2018 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Fellow artists mourn the loss of their friend and share fond memories that have left them forever inspired by Ed Bruce.
“We have lost another friend and songwriter today. Rest Easy Ed Bruce! Many will remember him for songs like Mama Don’t Let Your Baby’s Grow Up To Be Cowboys, but we shall remember him for a song called “I Know.” Look it up for a blessing. Goodbye brother and thank you.” - Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys
“As a teenager during the 1970s, his song Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys was one, and still is, of my favorite songs EVER.” - Andrew Farriss
“I’m proud to have known Ed Bruce, both in the studio and on television appearances. I admired his talents and unique style. May his memory live on forever.” - Janie Fricke
“We knew Ed and have performed on shows with him across the country. He was a good man and he will be missed.” - B.J. Thomas
“So very sad to hear that another one of country music’s great voices has gone silent. You could always tell instantly that it was Ed whether he was speaking or singing. I had the pleasure of working with him many times through the years and each and every time it was an honor. RIP my friend.” - T.G. Sheppard
“Ed was a big man with a big voice. He knew how to write a great country song. That deep speaking voice of his was unmistakable and he had some serious acting chops. Condolences to all of his family and friends. Rest easy, buddy.” - T. Graham Brown
“Ed Bruce was a dear, dear friend of mine. We always talked about visiting more, but now that’s going to have to wait. This one hits close to home and I will miss him like crazy.” - Johnny Lee
“The last time Ed Bruce had a top 40 chart record was thirty-three years ago. Yet, just the other day I was performing a show, and people in the audience, in their twenties, were singing along at the top of their lungs to "Texas When I Die" and "Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys." Ed has left us a legacy of songs that will endure time. The first time I heard Ed sing "My First Taste of Texas" I immediately bought the album. His voice was unmistakable. Whether it was through song or through his voice-over work, Ed Bruce was the ultimate story-teller. He will be missed." - Tim Atwood
“Country music lost another artist/songwriter in Ed Bruce. Known for writing one of the best country songs ever, those iconic lyrics will forever remain. Prayers to the family of Ed Bruce. He will be missed.” - JD Shelburne
“Ed Bruce’s “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” has to be one of the best country songs of my time. I also got to record a song with Ed called “The One That Got Away” in the early ’90s and we did a video for it. We laughed and joked all the way thru it (along with some Ol’ High Note”). We had a great time together! Say Hello To Heaven, Ed.” - David Frizzell
"Ed wrote songs so close to the bone, you couldn't help but be touched by them. He was my friend and I will miss him." - Lacy J. Dalton