September 19, 2008
As one of Nashville’s premier songwriters, Bobby Braddock has spoken the language of many a country music fan, a talent that has surpassed a number of his peers for its sheer depth of creativity and connection to the audience.
Braddock was born in Auburndale, Florida, attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland for two years. The first recording of one of Braddock’s songs occurred in 1961, on D.J. Records, an independent record label that operated out of Auburndale. Braddock played piano in several rock and roll bands locally and around the state, and throughout the southeast, but soon migrated to Music City. After moving to Nashville in 1964, Braddock landed a job at a music store, and eventually he was offered a gig playing piano in Marty Robbins’ tour band. In 1966, Robbins recorded and released Braddock’s song, “While You’re Dancing.” Bobby worked around town as a session player before signing with Tree International (now Sony) as a staff songwriter.
Braddock began recording his own songs in 1967 and had some chart success with his second single, “I Know How to Do It.” That same 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 scored two Top Ten singles with his compositions. Braddock scored his first #1 when Tammy Wynette sang “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” a song he co-wrote with Curly Putman. He continued a steady stream of hits throughout the 1970s, including: “I Believe the South’s Gonna Rise Again,” a major hit for Tanya Tucker, “Come on In” (1976), which was recorded by Sonny James, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Oak Ridge Boys, and “Womanhood,” which reached #3 for Tammy Wynette.
By 1980, George Jones had been struggling to match the success of the mid-to-late-1960s, and despite his initial resistance, he recorded “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” which Braddock co-wrote with Putman. The tale of unrequited love that ended in death breathed new life into Jones’ career, earning him the CMA and ACM male artist awards, and he secured his first Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance on the same night the songwriters won Best Country Song.
Braddock 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, a yet unmatched feat. 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.”
Bobby’s latest project is his autobiographical book Down On Orburndale: A Songwriters Youth in Old Florida, released in 2007. Although he continues work on a number of entertainment projects, his legacy as one of country music’s finest wordsmiths is secure.
The Bobby Braddock Catalog
- “Come On In”, Jerry Lee Lewis
- “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”, Tammy Wynette
- “Faking Love”, T.G. Sheppard and Karen Brooks
- “Golden Ring”, George Jones & Tammy Wynette
- “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, George Jones
- “Her Name Is…”, George Jones”I Believe the South Is Gonna Rise Again”, Tanya Tucker
- “I Feel Like Loving You Again”, T.G. Sheppard”Old Flames Have New Names”, Mark Chesnutt
- “Nothing Ever Hurt Me (Half As Bad as Losing You)”, George Jones
- “Time Marches On”, Tracy Lawrence
- “Womanhood”, Tammy Wynette
- “Would You Catch a Falling Star”, Jon Anderson