Country Chatter

Country Music Legend Mel Tillis Dead at 85


Mell Tillis who had been battling intestinal problems since 2016 passed away yesterday (Nov. 19) after respiratory failure. Tillis was 85.

Tillis, who was born on Aug. 8, 1932, in Plant City, Fla, was the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1976 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Tillis had his first success in Country Music as a songwriter and in 1957 Webb Pierce recorded “I’m Tired,” a No. 3 hit on the country charts. In 1963, “Detroit City,” which Mel co-wrote, became a hit for Bobby Bare in 1963. He also wrote the the song “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” which was released during the Vietnam War and had a story line about a paralyzed war veteran who was de ridden while his wife would take her love to town. The song became a Top 10 hit for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in 1969, but barely made it to the Top 40 on the country singles chart.

Tillis started recording himself in the 70’s and had hit the top of the charts in 1972 with “I Ain’t Never.” He enjoyed a string of of No. 1 hits in the late 1970’s including “Good Woman Blues,” “Heart Healer” and “Coca Cola Cowboy,” the latter from the movie Every Which Way but Loose starring Clint Eastwood.

Tillis also appeared in other films which helped him become an even bigger star. He appeared in such movies as The Cannonball Run, W.W. & the Dixie Dancekings, Smokey & the Bandit II and others.

The Country Music Hall of Famer leaves behind six children (Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis, and Hannah Puryear), six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children (Doris Tillis), his longtime partner (Kathy DeMonaco).

The Tillis family asks for your prayers and will release more information regarding his funeral services in Florida and Nashville.