Braden was born Robert Alan Braden on 6 February 1927 in Manchester. Together with his elder brother, Edwin Braden, he started performing on the stage as young as 5 years old and became a member of his brother Edwin's, "Edwin Braden and the Royal Sequence Dance Band" playing until Edwin was drafted into the Army at the outset of war.
At the outbreak of war, Braden was only 13 year old but with his father a railway signalman supervisor (a reserved profession) and his brother of fighting age, he found himself and his mother mostly alone. Already a very accomplished musician he now found himself much in demand and spend many evenings playing gigs in and around Manchester. He joined the Air Training Corps (ATC) and found himself being prepared to become a navigator. He was duly drafted into the Royal Air Force and trained on Wellington bombers. The war in Europe ended before he was deployed and he was transferred to the Army Signals Corps and prepared for deployment in the Far East. Once again the war ended before deployment and he was demobbed in 1946. Whilst in the services, he was much in demand as a musician and played in the Rpyal Core of Signals band at Catterick training establishment. He recalls having met Glenn Miller, describing him as the absolute cream of the bandleaders.
On demobilisation, he quickly returned to being a full-time musician, playing with many of the big bands of the time, including Joe Loss, Teddy Foster and Ted Heath as well as forming and leading his own band. Ultimately, the lure of television and work from Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street publishing houses) brought him to London.
Braden was a much-in-demand session clarinetist and saxophonist as well as a talented arranger and composer and it was not long before he got his first big break on television with the Redifusion produced Stars and Garters, a show about a working class pub of the same name featuring Braden as the bandleader and starring Kathy Kirby, Clinton Ford and Vince Hill.
Braden's work for television has included London Night Out, The Sooty Show, Night Out at the London Casino, The Two Ronnies, The Chipperfields Circus Specials, Get Some In!, Armchair Theatre, Up Pompeii, Give Us A Clue, The Ken Dodd Laughter Show, Mike Yarwood in Persons, Billy Dainty Esq., The Tommy Cooper Hour, Name That Tune and the 1979 version of the classic comedy short film The Plank. In the early Sooty Shows the puppet characters were seen to ‘play’ various musical instruments at the end of the show with his Sooty-Braden Showband. Throughout his career, Braden worked with many of the big names of the time, including Nat King Cole, The Beatles, Elton John, Petula Clarke, Tom Jones, Tom O'Connor, Lionel Blair, Cilla Black, Roy Hudd, Danny La Rue, Peggy Lee, and Louis Armstrong.
Braden was married to Margaret Braden and had two sons, Stephen Alan Braden (born 16 May 1955) and Philip Robert Braden (born 14 May 1960). He has three grandchildren, Rhianna Margaret Braden and Lily Christine Braden from Philip and Debbie Braden, and Alistair Braden from Stephen and Karen Braden. He has one great-grandchild, Angus Braden from Karen and Alistair Braden. Margaret Braden died in 2000 and he married Susan Braden in 2003.
- Tom Brown's Schooldays (Cambridge Theatre, London 9 May 1972)
- Alan Braden at BFI Retrieved 8 April 2014