Remembering Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s “Mamma’s, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”

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Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson's Mamma's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys f

Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson sang this song on their 1978 duet album Waylon & Willie. Their version reached the top spot back in March 1978, and stayed at the top of the country music charts for four weeks. It also hit #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, and won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

In 1979, Nelson’s rendition was showcased in the film The Electric Horseman, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Nelson’s rendition was also eventually performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks as “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Chipmunks” for their 1981 album Urban Chipmunk. The song was furthermore used in a 2015 TV commercial for the Volkswagen Passat. What a legend!

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LYRICS

Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold
They’d rather give you a song than diamonds or gold
Lone star 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
‘Cause they’ll never stay home and they’re always alone
Even with someone they love
Cowboys like smoky 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
‘Cause they’ll never stay home and they’re always alone
Even with someone they love
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

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