Theron Eugene "Ted" Daffan (September 21, 1912 – October 6, 1996) was an American country musician noted for composing the seminal "Truck Driver's Blues" and two much covered country anthems of unrequited love, "Born to Lose" and "I'm a Fool to Care".
Ted was born in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana. When he was a child, his family moved to Houston where he grew up and attended school. He had a keen interest in electronics and opened up his own radio repair shop after graduating where he also worked on electrical musical instruments, experimenting with amplifiers and teaching himself to play various types of guitars. By 1933 he was part of a Hawaiian musical group called The Blue Islanders which performed on a local radio station, and later joined the highly influential Blue Ridge Playboys. He also performed with several other Houston-area bands, including the Bar-X Cowboys and Shelly Lee Alley's Alley Cats.
One day after hearing him perform, the musician Milton Brown told him he had some talent and should close his shop and focus more on his musical career. Daffan wrote "Truck Drivers' Blues" after he stopped at a roadside diner and noticed that every time a trucker parked his rig and strolled into the cafe, the first thing he did, even before ordering a cup of coffee, was push a coin in the jukebox. He decided to write a song to capture some of the truck drivers' nickels and make himself rich and famous. Recorded by western swing artist Cliff Bruner (with Moon Mullican on lead vocal) in 1939, the song sold more than 100,000 copies, the best-selling record of that year.
In 1940, Ted started his own band, Ted Daffan and the Texans, and based on the popularity of Truck Drivin' Blues, was signed to Columbia Records. He continued to write and perform what would become classics of the honky tonk style, but it was his 1942 hit, Born to Lose, that would cement his name in song writing history.
This song would go on to hit gold, then platinum, and be recorded by over a hundred artists as diverse as Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Elton John and Ella Fitzgerald. Other songs followed: I'm a Fool to Care, No Letter Today and Worried Mind being the most popular and critically acclaimed.
In 1944 he moved to California and worked as a bandleader before returning to Texas in 1946. Deciding to move into the business side of the industry, he created his own label, Daffan Records, in 1955 and handled artists like Floyd Tillman and Dickie McBride.
In 1958 he moved to Nashville and set up his own music publishing company with Hank Snow, before returning to Houston in 1961 and setting up a publishing company there as well. After several years, Ted retired from the music business entirely and lived a quiet life with his wife Bobbie.
His legacy earned him many accolades: before his death from cancer in Houston on October 6, 1996, he had been inducted into the Academy of Country Music, the Texas Swing Music, the Western Swing Society, the Texas Steel Guitar Association, the State of Louisiana, and the Nashville Songwriters Association Halls of Fame.
(Info edited mainly from article from the Texas State Historical Association.)