Country Legend Mel Tillis Dies

Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis died in Ocala, Florida died November 19 as a result of respiratory failure at the age of 85.

Mel_TillisBy Cliff – originally posted to Flickr as Mel Tillis, CC BY 2.0,

Along with being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Tillis is a member of the Nashville Songwriters International Hall of Fame, is a Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, is a Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) two time Songwriter of the Decade, named Comedian of the year, won the Golden Voice Entertainer Award, is a Golden R.O.P.E songwriter Award winner, was inducted in the Florida Artist Hall of Fame, is a Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award winner and was presented the National Medal of the Arts by President Barack Obama.

Over the course of his 50 plus year career, Tillis has written some 1,000 songs and recorded over 60 albums.

Tillis is known as a Country music singing star, but he also did some acting appearing in “Cottonpickin’ Chickenpickers”, “Love, Ameerican Style”, “W.W. And the Dixie Dancekings”, “Nashville 99”, “The Villain”, “The Dukes of Hazzard”, “Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol”, “The Dean Martin Christmas Special”, “Smokey and the Bandit II”, “Stockers”, “The Cannonball Run” and “The Cannonball Run II”, “The Love Boat”, “Uphill All the Way”, “Bandit: Bandit Goes Country”, “Huntin’ Buddies”, “Beer for My Horses”, and “Palo Pinto Gold”.

And there were commercials too.

As himself, Tillis appeared in music variety shows, the TV movie “Harper Valley, U.S.A.”, late night talk shows, his own show, awards shows, game shows, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Every Which Way but Loose”, and talk shows.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born August 8, 192 in Tampa, Florida but grew up near Lake Okeechobee in Pahokee. Known as much for his stuttering as his singing, the disability was the result of a bout of malaria.

Before launching a music career, Tillis served in the United States Air Force as a baker stationed in Okinawa. He first came to music as a songwriter who had one of his songs recorded by Webb Pierce. Before launching a solo career, he sang with a group called The Westerners.

Besides Pierce, other artists who recorded Tillis’ music include Ray Price, Brenda Lee, Bobby Bare, Johnny Darrell, Jack Greene, Waylon Jennings, and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, and daughter Pam Tillis have also recorded some of Mel Tillis’ music.

He is survived by partner Kathy DeMonaco and children.

Mel Tillis Discography:
“Mr. Mel”
“Life’s That Way”
“Something Special”
“Let Me Talk to You”
“Who’s Julie?”
“Mel Tillis Sings Old Faithful”
“She’ll Be Hanging ‘Round Somewhere”
“Heart Over Mind (And Other Big Country Hits)”
“Walking on New Grass”
“One More Time”
“Big ‘n Country”
“Recorded Live at the Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas”
“Brand New Mister Me”
“The Arms of a Fool/Commercial Affection”
“Mel Tillis”
“Would You Want the World to End”
“Living and Learning/Take My Hand”
“On Stage”
“Mel Tillis and the Statesiders on Stage at the Birmingham Auditorium
“I Ain’t Never/Neon Rose”
“Let’s Go All the Way Tonight”
“Stomp Them Grapes…”
“Best Way I Know How”
“Mel Tillis and the Statesiders”
“Love Revival”
“Loves Troubled Waters”
“Welcome to Mel Tillis Country”
“Heart Healer”
“Mel Tillis and the Statesiders Live”
“Mel Tillis & Friends”
“Live at the Sam Houston Coliseum & Birmingham Auditorium”
“I Believe in You”
“Mr. Entertainer”
“Are You Sincere”
“Night Train to Memphis”
“M-M-Mel Live”
“Your Body is an Outlaw”
“Me and Pepper”
“Southern Rain”
“Mel and Nancy”
“It’s a Long Way to Daytona”
“After All this Time”
“New Patches”
“California Road”
“Branson City Limits”
“You Ain’t Gonna Believe This”

feature photo credit: By Cliff – originally posted to Flickr as Mel Tillis, CC BY 2.0,

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