Glen Campbell Forums / YouTube
Although Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings were the ones to popularize “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” they were not the first to record it. The song was originally recorded by its co-writer Ed Bruce, and was released in 1975.
Bruce’s recording of the song reached the 15th spot on the Hot Country Songs chart. Nelson and Jennings surpassed that ranking when they released their version of the song in 1978, which topped the Hot Country Songs chart and the Canadian RPM chart.
Now, it’s Nelson and Jennings that we think of whenever “Mammas” is mentioned. But the two singers couldn’t always be together, so sometimes they had to find a fill-in duet partner.
That’s exactly what Nelson did when he appeared as a special guest on The Glen Campbell Music Show in 1982. Without Jennings there, the logical choice was to have Campbell sing his parts while Nelson sang his own.
We have to admit, it’s different hearing Campbell sing “Mammas” with Nelson instead of Jennings. But it’s not different in a bad way, it just takes some getting used to!
Campbell’s voice offered something unique to “Mammas,” giving it a slightly different sound than Nelson and Jennings’ version. Overall, the performance took on a softer, slightly more lighthearted tone, whereas Nelson and Jennings’ duet was a bit more on the rowdy side.
It’s always entertaining to listen to classic songs done in different ways. Interestingly, the simple switch between Jennings and Campbell was enough to make this particular version of “Mammas” nearly sound like a new song.
Tune in below to watch the video of Nelson and Campbell singing their duet on “Mammas.” This is a real treat for all of the classic country fans out there!