Ted Daffan

Induction Year: 1970

Birth Name: Theron Eugene Daffan

Birth Date: 09-21-1912

Place of Birth: Beauregard Parish, Louisiana

Death Date: 10-06-1996

Place of Death: Houston, Texas

Country classics such as "I've Got Five Dollars and It's Saturday Night," "No Letter Today," "I'm a Fool to Care" and "Born to Lose" ensured that Ted Daffan would become a charter inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Daffan was born in Louisiana but raised in East Texas. In the early 1930s, the steel guitarist performed in a Hawaiian band in Houston, but by 1934 he had moved into country music. Country bandleader Cliff Bruner recorded a number of Daffan's songs during 1939 sessions, giving the budding songwriter a huge boost. Bruner's recording of Daffan's "Truck Driver's Blues" became a national bestseller and is regarded as the first trucker song.

Daffan formed his own band, which he named Ted Daffan's Texans, and began recording in 1940. "Worried Mind," his first hit, sold a reported 350,000 records. Its flip side, "Blue Steel Blues," became a perennially popular country instrumental.

Country music popularity charts were not compiled or published prior to 1944, and many of Daffan's songs gained success during the pre-chart days. Like "Worried Mind," 1940's "Let Her Go" was reissued four times during its heyday, and almost all of Daffan's 1941 and 1942 titles were reissued at least three times apiece.

The bandleader occasionally sang lead on his songs, but more often Texans band members Chuck Keeshan or Leonard Seago did so. Each sang on the band's 1942 single release of "Born to Lose" (Seago) backed with "No Letter Today" (Keeshan and Seago). Both sides became pop hits in 1943, and the record became one of country music's early million sellers. When Billboard's country charts were inaugurated in 1944, this double-sided hit also climbed high on the country charts.

The Texans disbanded in 1950, but Daffan continued to write. Les Paul & Mary Ford, Faron Young and Hank Snow were among the artists who placed his songs on the charts during the 1950s. Ray Charles revived "Born to Lose," "I'm a Fool to Care, "Worried Mind" and "No Letter Today" in the 1960s, which led to renewed interest in Daffan's song catalog.

Daffan was also a pioneer in electrifying and amplifying instruments, a record label owner, a music publisher, a guitar teacher and a music store manager. He sometimes wrote under the nom de plume "Frankie Brown."


Hank Snow1960 #22 country, #87 pop

"Always Alone"

Ted Daffan's Texans1941 
Johnny Cash1958 
The Wilburn Brothers1958 

"Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt"

Tex Ritter1946 
Jim Reeves1956 

"Blue Steel Blues"

Ted Daffan's Texans1940 
Hank Snow1953 
Chet Atkins1962 

"Born to Lose"

Ted Daffan's Texans1943 #3 country, #19 pop
Elton Britt1948 
Porter Wagoner1956 
Hank Snow1957 
Johnny Cash1958 
Ferlin Husky1959 
Don Gibson1961 
Reno & Smiley1961 
Goldie Hill1961 
Ray Charles1962 #13 adult contemporary, #41 pop
Red Foley1963 
The Everly Brothers1963 
Slim Whitman1963 
The Ventures1963 
Billy Preston1963 
Harold Bradley1963 
Patti Page1964 
Jean Shepard1964 
The Sons of the Pioneers1964 
George Jones & Gene Pitney1965 
Dean Martin1965 
Ray Price1965 
Charlie Walker1965 
Ernest Tubb1966 
Willie Nelson1967 
Ella Fitzgerald1968 
Jerry Lee Lewis1969 
Boots Randolph1969 
Sonny James1970 
Floyd Cramer1970 
Eddy Arnold1972 
Conway Twitty1973 
Johnny Rodriguez1974 
Shirley Bassey1976 
Merle Travis1981 
Tom Jones1985 
Elton John & Leonard Cohen1993 
Pete Fountain1994 
LeAnn Rimes1999 

"Heading Down the Wrong Highway"

Ted Daffan's Texans1945 #2 country
Johnny Bond1945 
Ernest Tubb1947 
Hank Snow1951 
Hank Thompson1958 
Hank Locklin1963 
Billy Walker1964 
Don Gibson1968 

"I'm a Fool to Care"

Ted Daffan's Texans1940 
Gene Autry1948 
Les Paul & Mary Ford1954 #6 pop
Bing Crosby1954 
Kay Starr1960 
Joe Barry1961 #24 pop
Jim Reeves1962 
Connie Francis1962 
Frank Ifield1963 
George Jones & Gene Pitney1965 
Ray Charles1965 #22 adult contemporary, #84 pop
Rick Nelson1966 
Ringo Starr1970 
Donny King1975 #72 country
Marcia Ball1978 #91 country
Anne Murray1993 
Doug Sahm1994 
Willie Nelson1995 
Jeff Beck2011 

"I'm Still in Love with You"

Shelly Lee Alley1937 
Cliff Bruner1939 

"I've Got Five Dollars and It's Saturday Night"

Ted Daffan's Texans1950 
Faron Young1956 #4 country
George Jones1960 
Joe Dolan1964 
George Jones & Gene Pitney1965 #99 pop

"Look Who's Talkin'"

Ted Daffan's Texans1944 #4 country

"No Letter Today"

The Dinning Sisters1942 
Ted Daffan's Texans1943 #2 country, #9 pop
Wilf Carter1944 
Rosalie Allen1945 
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys1946 
Judy Canova1947 
The Carter Sisters1950 
Les Paul & Mary Ford 1955 
Rosemary Clooney1956 
Ferlin Husky1959 
Bill Haley1960 
The Wilburn Brothers1961 
Ernest Tubb1962 
Hank Snow & Anita Carter 1962 
Ray Charles1963 
The Stanley Brothers1963 
Hank Williams Jr. & Connie Francis1964 
Faron Young1965 
Ned Miller1970 

"Rockin' Rollin' Ocean"

Hank Snow1960 #22 country

"Shadow of My Heart"

Ted Daffan's Texans1945 #5 country
Tex Ritter1946 

"Shut That Gate"

(written with Richard Duncan James)

Ted Daffan's Texans1946 #5 country
Jack Guthrie1947 

"Tangled Mind"

(written with Herman O. Shoss)

Ted Daffan's Texans1956 
Hank Snow1957 #4 country
Benny Barnes1957 
Ernest Tubb1958 

"The Last Ride"

Hank Snow1959 #3 country

"Time Won't Heal My Broken Heart"

(written with Billy Curtis Martin)

Ted Daffan's Texans1945 #6 country

"Truck Driver's Blues"

Cliff Bruner1939 
The Light Crust Doughboys1939 
Webb Pierce1961 
Ferlin Husky1961 
Red Simpson1966 
Johnny Gimble1988 
Rosie Flores1996 
Asleep at the Wheel with Willie Nelson2010 

"Where the Deep Waters Flow"

Ted Daffan's Texans1940 
Ernest Tubb1945 

"Woman Captured Me"

Hank Snow1958 #16 country

"Worried Mind"

(written with Jimmie Davis)

Ted Daffan's Texans1940 
Texas Jim Lewis1940 
Roy Acuff1941 
Ernest Tubb1945 
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys1946 
Jimmie Davis1947 
Skeets McDonald & Helen O'Connell1953 
Faron Young1957 
Ivory Joe Hunter1958 
Ray Anthony1962 #20 adult contemporary, #74 pop
George Jones1962 
Ray Charles1962 
Les Paul & Mary Ford1963 
Wanda Jackson1964 
Roy Drusky1964 
Don Gibson1965 
Moon Mullican1966 
Floyd Cramer1970 

Ted Daffan

Induction Year: 1970