Music

Flashback: Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings Perform ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”

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Cowboys may not be easy to love, but this song definitely is. Forty years ago, in 1978, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” rose to number one on the country charts thanks to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings‘s cover of the track on their duet album, Waylon & Willie.

The song was originally recorded two years prior in 1976 by Ed Bruce who penned the lyrics with his wife, Patsy Bruce. He made it to number 15 on the country charts, but Willie and Waylon took it up the rest of the way, and even earned a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

In the video above, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings of The Highwaymen perform their version of the song on stage at Farm Aid 1986. Farm Aid was co-founded by Nelson who also served as its president alongside Neil Young and John Mellencamp to help family farmers.

This performance took place in the hot summer on July 4th in Austin, Texas, hence the stylish shorts Nelson is sporting.

If you want to sing along (and you know you do), give a glance to the song’s lyrics below.

“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” Lyrics

Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold.
They’d rather give you a song than diamonds or gold.
Lonestar belt buckles and old faded levis,
And each night begins a new day.
If you don’t understand him, an’ he don’t die young,
He’ll prob’ly just ride away.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
Don’t let ’em pick guitars or drive them old trucks.
Let ’em be doctors and lawyers and such.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
‘Cos they’ll never stay home and they’re always alone.
Even with someone they love.

Cowboys like smokey old pool rooms and clear mountain mornings,
Little warm puppies and children and girls of the night.
Them that don’t know him won’t like him and them that do,
Sometimes won’t know how to take him.
He ain’t wrong, he’s just different but his pride won’t let him,
Do things to make you think he’s right.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
Don’t let ’em pick guitars or drive them old trucks.
Let ’em be doctors and lawyers and such.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
‘Cos they’ll never stay home and they’re always alone.
Even with someone they love.

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Flashback: Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings Perform ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”