On this day, they talked about him.
A few dozen beneficiaries of Bobby Braddock’s songwriting successes convened at BMI’s Nashville offices Friday morning (April 12) to have breakfast and raise their mimosas in toast to the composer and his latest No. 1 country hit, “I Wanna Talk About Me.” Recorded by Toby Keith , this outburst of lyrical exasperation recently spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard charts.
Braddock told the crowd that the song grew out of a phone conversation he’d had with a friend “who’s usually a good conversationalist but was going through some personal problems and tending to be self-centered.” He joked that he feared his accomplishment would spark the headline, “Aging Songwriter Writes/First Country Rap Hit.” Braddock’s first No. 1 song, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” dates back to 1968.
James Stroud, Keith’s co-producer and president of DreamWorks Records/Nashville, related that Braddock called him and asked if he could stop by and play him a song. Braddock arrived at his office, Stroud said, carrying a “huge briefcase” and conjuring up fears of hours of listening. When he opened the case, however, it held just the demo for “I Wanna Talk About Me.”
Stroud said he liked the song so much he immediately called Keith and played it for him. Keith was equally smitten. By the next day, he was calling back, saying it had to be a single and offering ideas for its music video.
“When Bobby’s passionate about a song,” said Donna Hilley, president of Sony/Tree Music, Braddock’s publisher, “he doesn’t leave it to a songplugger. He pitches it himself.” She noted that he has had 15 No. 1 songs since “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and more than 50 Top 10s. She urged the crowd to lobby Kyle Young, head of the Country Music Foundation, to find a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame to honor “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the two-time CMA song of the year Braddock co-wrote with Curly Putman.
The brightest moment in the ceremonies came when Woody Bomar, vice president and general manager of creative services for Sony/Tree, stepped to the presentation platform and began rapping a parody of the song being honored. The last verse said:
“We wanna talk about Bob,wanna talk about art
Wanna talk about No. 1 on the Billboard chart
‘Cause he writes what he likes, what he feels, does a real good job
We whine about how the industry gets robbed
But in this mob, we wanna talk about Bob.”
“From this moment forward,” quipped Braddock, “you’ll be known as Wood Daddy.”