Ernest Tubb, also referred to as the Texas Troubadour, was an American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of country music. With the release of “Walking the Floor Over You,” his biggest career hit in 1941, the honky tonk music genre initially became well-known.
Tubb enjoyed yodeling like Jimmie Rodgers, and his ability to do so earned him bar employment and a recording deal with Rodgers’ company, RCA. But afterwards, his tonsils swelled up, and he subsequently had an infection. He resorted to songwriting after having a failed tonsillectomy in 1939, which impacted his voice.
Despite the surgeon’s assurances that the procedure would enhance his voice, he was never able to yodel again. Tubb’s voice was ungainly, gravelly, and quavering after surgery, yet it was still recognized as warm as flannel.
Taking time to develop his songwriting skills resulted in successful Ernest Tubb songs like “Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Blue Eyed Elaine,” and “Walking the Floor Over You.” He also popularized electric guitar in country music, providing sound loud and vibrant enough to drown out any barroom noise.
He made his last appearance on the Grand Ole Opry on August 15, 1982. And on September 6, 1984, at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, the Lord took him away at the age of 70. Emphysema was the ruled cause of death. His remains are buried in Nashville’s Hermitage Memorial Gardens.
Ernest Tubb only wanted to sing like his idol, but the outcome of his surgery precluded him from doing so. He urged listeners in a 1965 song to “Give your love and all of your heart, and do what you do well,” and he did what he advised.