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 Mel Tillis

Mel Tillis

Original Name Lonnie Melvin Tillis
Birth
Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA
Death 19 Nov 2017 (aged 85)
Ocala Thoroughbred Acres, Marion County, Florida, USA
Burial Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 185320933 · View Source
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Country Singer. Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis, he was raised in Pahokee, Florida, under impoverished circumstances. During his early youth, he suffered from malaria which left him with a speech impediment. Additionally, to make his youth more difficult, his father frequently abandoned his family. While in high school, he began playing the drums and participated in the band. He also excelled athletically on the school's football team. Tillis began singing during his mid teenage years and earned recognition in a local talent contest. Following service with the United States Air Force, he relocated to Nashville in efforts to start a career in entertainment. In 1956, he co-penned the song "I'm Tired" which became a hit for Webb Pierce and secured Tillis' place as a songwriter. This led to a job with the Cedarwood Publishing Company. In 1958, he scored a Top 30 hit on the US Country Charts with his recorded version of "The Violet and the Rose" and followed this with "Wine" (1964), "Who's Julie?" (1969) and "These Lonely Hands of Mine" (1969). Additionally, he co-penned the Bobby Bare hit "Detroit City" (1963) and wrote the Kenny Rogers' song "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" (1967). During the 1970s, he expanded his success with further hits which include "Heaven Everyday" (1970), "Commercial Affection" (1970), "Arms of a Fool" (1970) and "Take My Hand" (1971, a duet with Sherry Bryce). During the next several decades, his songs could be found in many movie soundtracks of which include "W.W. and the Dixie Danckings"(1975), "Every Which Way But Loose" (1978), "The Villain" (1979), "Smokey and the Bandit II" (1980) and "Cannonball Run" (1981). In 1974, he hosted his own TV series. Tillis remained active as a recording artist, as well as a performer and songwriter into the 2000s. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. His daughter Pam Tillis became a successful Country music performer. In 2016, he underwent surgery for diverticulitis and recently suffered from sepsis.

Bio by: C.S.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: C.S.
  • Added: 19 Nov 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 185320933
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mel Tillis (8 Aug 1932–19 Nov 2017), Find A Grave Memorial no. 185320933, citing Woodall Cemetery, Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .