Though Bobby Braddock has enjoyed a long and illustrious career that has included hits from Tammy Wynette, Toby Keith, George Jones and Billy Currington, for the legendary tunesmith it all started with Dot Anderson. Sort of.
In 1961, Braddock achieved his first cut as a songwriter with a song titled "Walkin' Papers." The record was released on D.J. Records, a tiny label located in his hometown of Auburndale, Fla. Braddock joked that the song didn't make his bio sheet for his 2011 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame nor his induction into to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame this spring. "If I had heard it now, I probably would have thought it was one of the worst things I've ever heard," he admitted. "It was hideous, really bad."
However, it wasn't until he loaded up the car and moved to Nashville in 1964 that his writing career really picked up steam. He went to work for superstar Marty Robbins, who earned a No. 21 peak with his "While You're Dancing," which was the first of a five-decade run of hit records.
Braddock is gearing up for the upcoming release of his second book, Bobby Braddock: A Life on Nashville's Music Row. When asked about the fact that he delves very deeply into some of his relationships -- business and otherwise, he said that one of his family members told him the same thing.
"After he read the book, my brother told me 'Bobby, I don't believe I would have said that," Braddock told Billboard. "But, I figured if I slapped myself around and told all of these bad things on myself, people would know that I'm writing the truth. I think I would rather have a bad reputation than a boring book."
Needless to say, the book is far from boring. In the pages of the release, he touches on many of the friendships he has made in the business -- and those that helped him out career-wise, such as longtime Tree International owner Buddy Killen, of whom he said, "He totally got what I was doing. I think a lot of people who were around me didn't know what to make of my writing. They thought I wrote pretty weird. But, he liked it....and he believed in me. He helped me more than anybody in the business."
What set his writing apart from his contemporaries? In his words, he said, "I was writing songs that weren't typical of what was on the radio and I've always done that. I've had things recorded that I probably shouldn't have. There's always that time when something breaks out of the mold and becomes huge, like 'Girl Crush,' for instance. What a great song that was."