Ed Bruce Biography
Last updated: 01/12/2014 07:13:47 AM
With a string of hits, both as an artist and a writer, Ed Bruce has maintained a successful career for more than four decades. "Mamma's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys", "After All", "Girls, Women and Ladies", "When You Fall In Love Everything's A Waltz", "My First Taste of Texas", "Ever, Never Loving You", "The Last Cowboy Song", and the "Theme from Bret Maverick" are just a few of the self-penned hit songs from this great artist. Then there's "Texas When I Die" and "The Man That Turned My Mama On" which were giant hits for Tanya Tucker - and the list goes on.
Ed was born on December 29, 1939 in Keiser, Arkansas. Early on, the family moved to Memphis and he claims Tennessee as his home. Ed started writing songs in his early teens and, in the late 1950's, he first recorded, as Edwin Bruce, on the famed Sun Records label while a senior in high school. His label-mates included Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and Johnny Cash. Writing the B-side of Tommy Roe's million seller "Sheila" furnished funds and motivation for Ed to move to Nashville in 1962. A year later CMA Hall-of-Famer Charlie Louvin recorded "See The Big Man Cry". It earned Ed his first BMI award and Charlie credits the song with establishing him as a solo artist.
He returned to Memphis for a brief period but was back on Music Row in 1966, this time for good. Along with songwriting, Ed found work as a background singer. Kenny Price soon recorded Ed's song, "Northeast Arkansas Mississippi County Bootlegger".
In the late 1960's, Ed recorded for RCA and Monument Records, releasing the singles "Song For Ginny" and "Everybody Wants To Get To Heaven". In 1973 he inked a new deal with United Artists and had another charting single with "July Your A Woman". Ed's songs continued to be recorded by others. "Restless" was a hit for Crystal Gayle in 1974. Also, during this time, Ed spent four years hosting an early morning TV show on Nashville WSM.
Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings released a duet version of Ed's song "Mammas..." in 1978. The song had previously been a chart-climber for Ed in 1975. This time it went to the top and the lyrics became indelibly written on the minds of millions. It was nominated for Grammy and CMA awards. It won a Grammy. Also that year, "Texas When I Die", recorded by Tanya Tucker, was nominated for Grammy and CMA Awards.
Ed had success yet again with "The Last Cowboy Song", a poignant tribute to the passing of the American cowboy and his way of life. It seems only fitting that Willie Nelson would lend his voice to the song, released in 1980. More hits would soon follow.
In addition to performing and writing, Ed also has a very successful acting career. He appeared in the CBS mini-series "The Chisolms" with Robert Preston, the NBC movie "The Return of Frank and Jesse James" and, of course, was the co-star of "Bret Maverick" with James Garner. He appeared as Sgt. Daryl Kelso in the CBS Movie of the Week "Separated by Murder" and as Attorney Harlan Hayes in the pilot episode of "XXX's & OOO's", produced in Nashville. Other star turns include the pragmatic Sheriff Lloyd in the Steven Segal feature "Fire Down Below"; Thunder Malloy in the "Walker Texas Ranger" inspired "Son's of Thunder"; and Ed's favorite, the curmudgeonly rancher Mitch in Sundance Films "The Outfitters".
In the late 70's, he represented the Volunteer State as "The Tennessean" (See photo in Scrapbook) in a nationwide campaign promoting tourism.
Ed was also the host of "American Sports Cavalcade" on The Nashville Network and hosted the seven seasons of "Truckin' USA", also on TNN. He recently began taping the fourth season of "Doc on Point", a series, featuring his English Setter, Doc. It focuses on the training of gun dogs and airs weekly on Outdoor Life Network. He has recorded dozens of national TV and radio commercials including United Airlines, McDonalds, Kawasaki, John Deere, Dodge Trucks and the Armed Services Campaign "It's a Great Place To Start" - to name just a few.
Today, as always, Ed loves to sit around with friends and talk sports - most notably, football and hunting, and of course, horses and dogs. There is championship breeding among the herd of 22 Tennessee Walking Horses, and numerous champions and Hall-of-Famers are apparent in the pedigrees of their 5 English Setters. This "royalty" is no more treasured, however, than the always present, variegated pack of tail-wagging strays, orphans and drop-offs greeting visitors to Ed's and Judith's "Home At Last" ranch.
Ed Bruce's career now spans both sides of the Atlantic - he has gained an enormous following in Europe and performs there at least once a year. The next time you see the movie "Electric Horseman" or hear "Mamma's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" on the radio, take a good listen. It's a better biographical sketch of Ed Bruce than anything written here.