By Doug Davis
This week in 1945, reports indicated that the atomic bomb fallout in Hiroshima was still killing a 100 people a day, researchers reported the first successful use of streptomycin in treating tuberculosis in humans, President Truman submitted to Congress a program for economic reconversion and a singer/songwriter from Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, had his 6th hit record.
Lot of country songs have been written from personal experience and according to Ted Daffan the 1940’s hit, “Headin’ Down The Wrong Highway” was just such a tune.
Daffan commented, “It’s a well known fact that liquor and drinking are occupational hazards for musicians. I was living in Los Angeles, California, in a small penthouse on top of a hotel. I woke up one Monday morning with a terrible hangover. I had drunk all the liquor I had in the place so I decided to go downstairs to a bar just around the corner from the hotel.”
“There were only two other customers in the in the bar because it was still early in the morning. I ordered a drink and sat there looking around the bar. I noticed that the two other guys had the shakes from too much liquor and that they were seedy looking characters. I sat there drinking my drink and looking at those two and said to myself, ‘Boy, we’re on the wrong road.’ Suddenly the idea and the lyrics to “Headin’ Down The Wrong Highway” just hit me. I left my drink and ran back upstairs and wrote the lyrics down. It took me about ten minutes to complete the song.”
Ted Daffan’s Okeh recording of “Headin’ Down The Wrong Highway” entered the country music charts September 1st, 1945 and peaked at number two where it stayed for three weeks. It was on the charts for 13 weeks.
Ted Daffan placed eight songs on the country music charts from 1944 thru 1946. He died in 1996 at age 84.