William Edwin Bruce Jr. (December 29, 1939 – January 8, 2021) was an American country music songwriter, singer, and actor. He was known for writing the 1975 song “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and recording the 1982 country number one 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 1981-1982 season.
Bruce was born in Keiser, Arkansas, United States, and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. 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”).
Bruce died of natural causes in Clarksville, Tennessee, on January 8, 2021, at age 81.