190 Floyd Tillman

Floyd Tillman

County Music Hall Of Famer

Floyd Tillman was born in Ryan, Oklahoma on December 8, 1914, but raised in Post, Texas, Floyd was drawn to playing music by the fact that two of his brothers were earning $5 a night playing dances at a local skating rink.

Floyd developed his own style of performing at an early age.  He was always just a little off from the beat of the other musicians.  He would rather sing his own compositions than the common hits of the day. 

Floyd's first major hit, "It Makes No Difference Now," which he sold for $300, established him as a songwriter in 1938, and led to his own Decca recording contract.  Jimmie Davis purchased the song from Floyd.  Floyd would retain the ownership of the song once again after twenty eight years.

Floyd's only number one song as a singer was the jazzy "They Took The Stars Out of Heaven."  It reached the top of the charts in 1942.

His 1944 hit, "Each Night At Nine," captured the feelings of lonely servicemen so well that both Axis Sally and Tokyo Rose played it heavily to encourage desertion.

In 1948 "I Love You So Much It Hurts" was a huge hit for Floyd and also for Jimmy Wakely. His 1949 "Slippin' Around," one of the first cheating songs, was a hit not only for Floyd, but also for Ernest Tubb, Texas Jim Robertson and the duo of Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely. Tillman had a smash with his own answer, "I'll Never Slip Around Again," as did the Whiting/Wakely duo.

Other classics written and recorded by Floyd include "I Gotta Have My Baby Back" "Small Little Town" "I'll Take What I Can Get" "and "This Cold War With You."

Floyd slowed down on his performing in the early 1950's relying on his past sonwriting hits to provide an income. 

"It was a daily rat race,"  Floyd said.  "I was sleeping in my car-a bus was out of the question, too expensive-and making $200-$500 a night, more money than I could pay taxes on, and I got tired of it.  I told the band they could go on and keep playin' but I was going to retire.  That kind of life can get to you."

Floyd would become a very honored songwriter and performer especially out of the "outlaw music craze" that swept Texas.  Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Johnny Bush, Darrell McCall and so many others regarded Floyd as one of their major influences.

He returned to work occasionally in the 1970's primarily throughout Texas.  He did enjoy a part in several of the "Legends" or "Pioneer Reunion" shows in Nashville.  Floyd continued to work until he reached his 88th birthday, just months before his death.

Floyd was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1971.  His greatest honor was bestowed on him in 1984 when his protege Willie Nelson inducted him into the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

Floyd returned to the studio in 2002-2003 to record his final album.  The project titled "The Influence" paired Floyd with some Country Music artists that were influenced by his style and performing.  Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Leona Williams, Dolly Parton, Justin Trevino, Ray Price, Frankie Miller, Hank Thompson, Connie Smith, Lawton Williams, Mel Tillis, Darrell McCall, Johnny Bush and George Jones recorded some of Floyd Tillman's masterpieces with the creater himself. 

The project, released in April of 2004, features liner notes by Dr. Bill Malone, Bill Mack, Hank Thompson and Willie Nelson.  It was produced by Justin Trevino on Heart of Texas Records.

"We were so delighted to bring Floyd back into the studios after a twenty year absence,"  Heart of Texas Records President Tracy Pitcox said.  "We were just very dissapointed that Floyd could not hear the final project.  He loved his vocals and smiled 'ear to ear' when I first played them for him."

"The Influence" is a fitting tribute to a great Country Music Legend.

Floyd Tillman passed away peacefully at his home in Bacliff, Texas, on August 22, 2003.

Heart of Texas Records 1701 South Bridge Street Brady, Texas 76825 (325) 597-1895

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