Had country songwriter Bobby Braddock taken the advice from his first hit song "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" a little sooner, he might have prevented his first wife from running him deeply into debt, ruining his credit rating.
Braddock was welcomed with open arms when he arrived in Nashville from Florida in 1964. Five weeks in town, Marty Robbins hired him to play the keyboard in his band, and shortly thereafter recorded several of his songs.
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In addition to the Tammy Wynette chestnut, credit Braddock (along with co-writer Curly Putnam) with what many consider the greatest country song of all time, the George Jones classic, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."
Although he wrote "We're Not the Jet Set" for George and Tammy, Mr. and Mrs. Braddock were living like it until the IRS came knocking.
Your financial train started to leave the tracks around the time you had your first No.1 country hit with "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," right?
Yeah, it did. If I was earning $10,000 a year, we would live on $15,000. If I was earning $20,000 a year, we were living on $30,000-35,000 a year. Over the years, I just got deeply, deeply, deeply in debt. It was just awful. I can't blame it on my wife because I let it happen. It was the classic mismatch marriage of all time, with one exception: we got a wonderful daughter out of it. I wouldn't change a thing.
Were you just not tracking your bills?
Yeah. She had come from not much money and she was just spending through the roof and I let her do it. Fortunately, I had a successful songwriting career, and when it came time to sign a contract, instead of trying to get part of the publishing for my songs, I was so needy that when it came re-sign time, I always wanted money upfront and I just continued to get much, much deeper in debt.