Features: PolKats - Class of the Sixties


Bobby Braddock

Bobby Braddock

Robert Valentine Braddock

Born: August 5, 1940 in Lakeland, FL
Currently resides in Nashville, TN


Bobby Braddock is a native son of Auburndale, Florida having graduated from Auburndale High School in 1958, and then attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland during 1961-62. He is a fourth generation Floridian born to parents, Paul E. and Lavonia Valentine Braddock. His father was a successful citrus grower in Central Florida.

Bobby was 8 years old and taking piano lessons when he wrote his first song. He then performed that song in a recital. He later played saxophone in the Auburndale High School Band.

The first recording of one of Bobby's songs, was one he produced in 1961, on D.J. Records, an independent record label that operated out of Auburndale, Florida. The song was "Walkin' Papers" and the artist was Dot Anderson, who was the wife of Jody Anderson-- the president of the D.J. label.

In 1962, Bobby produced the second of his songs to be recorded "That's When I Stopped Living" b/w pop culture favorite "Fallout Shelter", also for D.J. Records. This one featured vocalist and friend, Billy Chambers. The recording was made in Lakeland, Florida at the Tuesday Music Club by engineer Ernie Garrison. The players on the session were Bobby on piano, Carl Chambers on electric guitar, Gene Voss on rhythm guitar, Glen Voss on acoustic bass, Tommy Grimes on drums and a host of back-up singers from Florida Southern College.

Bobby played piano in several rock and roll bands locally and around the state, including Jumpin' James Jolly, the Dynamics, the Starfires, and throughout the southeast with Big John Taylor's Untouchables before moving to Nashville in September of 1964.

After moving to Nashville, Bobby landed a job at Hewgley’s Music Store, but was later fired when he got his apron caught in the trumpet-polishing machine. It wasn't long though, before he was offered a gig playing piano in Marty Robbins' tour band and in 1966, Robbins had chart success singing Braddock's song, "While You're Dancing." Bobby also appeared in a couple of Country Music movies during the mid-60s and worked around town as a session player before signing with Tree International (now Sony/ATV) as a staff songwriter.

Bobby began recording his own songs in 1967 and had some chart success with his second single, "I Know How to Do it," which made it to the Top 75. That year the Oak Ridge Boys reached the Top Ten with his "Would They Love Him Down in Shreveport" after which he provided the Statler Brothers with two Top Ten hits, including "You Can't Have Your Kate and Edith Too." Braddock scored his first number one hit when Tammy Wynette sang "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," a song he co-wrote with Curly Putnam. He continued to steadily create hits through the 1970's, including: "I Believe the South's Gonna Rise Again," which became a big hit for Tanya Tucker, "Come on In" (1976), which provided Sonny James, Jerry Lee Lewis and later the Oak Ridge Boys with hits; "Something to Brag About" (1978) for Mary Kay Place and Willie Nelson; and "Womanhood," which was a number three hit for Wynette.

In 1979, Braddock signed to Elektra and scored a Top 60 hit with the title track of his 1979 album Between the Lines. He continued writing hits for other artists through the early '80s; among them was the song that restored the flagging career of George Jones, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which he co-wrote with Putnam. In 1980, Braddock again appeared on the charts with a cut from his second Elektra album Love Bomb.

Bobby was inducted as the youngest living member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1981. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" won the CMA Song of the Year Award two years in a row. This was only the second time in CMA history that a song won in this category for a second consecutive year. That song was voted "All Time Favorite Country Song" by the readers of Country America Magazine as well as the listeners of the BBC in England. It also was named by music industry executives in an R&R poll as Country Song of The Century. In an interview with Music Row Magazine Bobby spoke of that song, “I still feel like I’ve written better songs, and so has Curly Putman. I honestly think it was just a great recording. Curly says I brought in the idea, but we worked on it, and we thought of it as a dark comedy, really. Two years later when Billy Sherrill recorded it on George Jones, he had us add a verse on to it, and we wrote I don’t know how many till we got one he liked. It was a long process.”

Though his career waned a bit during the mid-'80s, Braddock wrote several big hits during the 1990s, including "Time Marches On" and "Texas Tornado" for Tracy Lawrence and "Old Flames Have New Names" for Mark Chesnutt.

Bobby estimates that he's written around 1,200 songs, has had around 80 songs make it on to the charts, maybe 35 or 36 "Top 10" hits, and approximately 13 or 14 "Number 1's".

From the 1960's through the 1980's, Bobby was a recording artist for five major labels: MGM, Columbia, Mercury, Elektra, and RCA. Some of his biggest musical influences have been Hank Williams, Ray Charles, and The Beatles. He likes all kinds of music and loves to read, especially history.

Bobby once again scored the number one position on the Billboard Country Music charts in August 2001, but this time, it was not as a songwriter, but as the producer of country music newcomer, Blake Shelton. Both the single single, "Austin" and self titled album were enormous successes. The single soared to the #1 spot on the chart where it remained for a total of five weeks. The song, "Austin", although not penned by Braddock, also set several milestones for the charts, the artist and the writers.

"Bobby Braddock Becomes Producer For Blake Shelton"
Auburndale Sun article - September 6, 2001 [CLICK HERE]

Before the dust had settled around "Austin", Bobby hit the charts again with Toby Keith's release of his song, "I Wanna Talk About Me". The song remained #1 on Billboard's Top Country Hits chart for 5 consecutive weeks.

Bobby's daughter, Lauren, is an actress, singer, and songwriter who also lives in Nashville.

Bobby's latest endeavor is his autobiographical "Down On Orburndale: A Songwriters Youth in Old Florida" from LSU Press. Released March 13, 2007, the book is a must read for Florida crackers, locals, music fans, and anyone interested in the Americana of old Florida during the pre-Disney era. If your not already a big fan - you will be.

 


 Awards:

1977--BMI\Citations of Achievement\Golden Ring\Thinkin' of a Rendezvous\Her Name Is...\Peanuts and Diamonds
1980--Country Music Association\Song of the Year\He Stopped Loving Her Today
1981--Country Music Association\Song of the Year\He Stopped Loving Her Today
1981--Academy of Country Music\Song of the Year\He Stopped Loving Her Today
1981--Music City News\Songwriter of the Year
1981--Nashville Songwriters Association\Song of the Year\He Stopped Loving Her Today

 Catalog Highlights:

D-I-V-O-R-C-E Co-writer: Curly Putman Artists: Tammy Wynette (1968), Billy Connolly (1975)
Did You Ever Artists: Charlie Louvin and Melba Montgomery (1971), Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood (1971)
Golden Ring Co-writer: Rafe Van Hoy Artists: George Jones and Tammy Wynette (1976)
Her Name Is... Artists: George Jones (1976)
Thinkin' of a Rendezvous Co-writer: Sonny Throckmorton Artists: Johnny Duncan (1976)
Womanhood Artists: Tammy Wynette (1978)
He Stopped Loving Her Today Co-writer: Curly Putman Artists: George Jones (1980), Johnny Russell
Hard Times Artists: Lacy J. Dalton (1980)
I Feel Like Loving You Again Co-writer: Sonny Throckmorton Artists: T.G. Sheppard (1980)
Would You Catch a Falling Star Artists: Jon Anderson (1982)
Faking Love Co-writer: Matraca Berg Artists: T.G. Sheppard and Karen Brooks (1982)
Old Flames Have New Names Co-writer: Rafe Van Hoy Artists: Mark Chesnutt (1992)
They Call It Making Love Artists: Tammy Wynette (1979)
Fadin' In, Fadin' Out Co-writer: Sonny Throckmorton Artists: Tommy Overstreet (1978)
Something to Brag About Artists: Mary Kay Place with Willie Nelson (1978)
Nothing Ever Hurt Me (Half As Bad as Losing You) Artists: George Jones (1973)
I Believe the South Is Gonna Rise Again Artists: Tanya Tucker (1975)
I Wanna Talk About Me Artist: Toby Keith (2001)
Come On In Artists: Jerry Lee Lewis (1978)
Ruthless Artists: Statler Brothers (1967)
Country Music Lover Co-writer: Sonny Throckmorton Artists: "Little" Jimmy Dickens (1967)
Peanuts and Diamonds Artists: Bill Anderson (1976)
Texas Tornado Artists: Tracy Lawrence (1995)
Time Marches On Artists: Tracy Lawrence (1996)