It has been fifteen years since the passing of Floyd Tillman, one of country music’s greatest influencer. It was said that he is a big influence on country singers like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Hank Thompson, and Connie Smith. Floyd was influenced by country music and jazz music thus, he even writes songs with a combination of country and jazz music. In addition, Floyd is one of the pioneers of early Honky Tonk music and Western Swing, although Bob Wills is still considered to be the father of Western Swing.
Floyd Tillman Beginnings
Floyd Tillman was born on December 8, 1914, in Ryan, Oklahoman. However, his family moved to Texas and lived there. Tillman learned to play the guitar and the mandolin when he was young. He also used his skill in playing this instrument to perform with local bands.
Blue Ridge Playboys and “It Makes No Difference Now”
Blue Ridge Playboys is a band where Tillman was a part of since 1935. The band was formed before the World War II began. During his time with his band, Tillman began to write songs. The first song he wrote was “It Makes No Difference Now” in 1938 with his bandmate Leon Selph. His song was bought by Jimmie Davis thus Tillman lost the ownership of the song. However, after a long time, he finally got the copyright of the song.
Tillman’s Only No. 1 Song
Tillman’s one and only No. 1 song in 1944 was “They Took the Stars Out of Heaven.” The song was written by Tillman. “They Took the Stars Out of Heaven” is a song about being separated from the person you love, and during those time it was common because of the war.
Other Top Performing Songs
He never scored another No.1 after his hit “They Took the Stars Out of Heaven.” However, Tillman was able to produce songs that entered the top 5 of the Billboard chart. Some of his songs that are also known were “G.I. Blues,” and “Each Night at Nine” both were released in 1944, “Drivin’ Nails in my Coffin” in 1946, “I Love You So Much It Hurts” in 1948. The last song he had to enter the Billboard chart at No. 29 was “It Just Tears Me Up” in 1960. After his last song in the Billboard, Tillman performed less but continued to write songs.
Last Album and Death
In 2003, Tillman died after suffering from Leukemia. He died in Bacliff, Texas. Before his death, he was able to record his final album with some country artists. The Influence is Tillman’s last album together with country singers such as Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, and many more.