Johnny Tillotson/Screen grabbed from Youtube
Seventy-nine years ago today in Jacksonville, Florida, a soon to be music star was born. His name is Johnny Tillotson. The adage, “Music runs in their blood” exactly applies to Tillotson having born to a father who is a country music disc jockey. His father’s influence inspired him to follow a career path in music and eventually enjoy great success through his major hits. Having produced charting singles in the ‘60s helped him established a steady career until the 21st century.
How Music Thrives in His Life
Johnny Tillotson’s music career started at the age of nine through his appearance on the local radio and television stations. He was primarily interested in country music, though Elvis Presley’s music has also influenced him a lot. While he was attending school at the University of Florida in 1957, he entered a national talent competition sponsored by Pet Milk. Although he did not win the contest, it gave him the opportunity to visit Nashville where a song publisher, Archie Bleyer, discovered him. A year later, Bleyer, who is the owner of Cadence Records label signed him to a three-year contract. His first single with the label came out in September 1958. While “Dreamy Eyes” did not achieve major success, Tillotson grabbed the chance to finish his university degree. He is truly an accomplished man as he even completed his six-month service in the army while he continues recording songs during his spare time. As a result, he has produced several songs, most of them have charted during this period.
In 1961, the singer released his most successful self-written song entitled “It Keeps Right on A-Hurtin’.” His father’s terminal illness at that time inspired him to write the tune. Given an overtly country arrangement, the song entered multiple charts. It peaked at number four on the country chart while getting to number three in the pop chart. The single even entered at number six in the R&B chart. Accordingly, the song earned Tillotson his first Grammy Awards nomination for Best Country and Western Recording. Many renowned artists have since covered this major hit of Tillotson. Among them, were Elvis Presley and Billy Joe Royal.
In the years that follow, Tillotson continued to produce many more singles and wrote songs for other artists. He likewise dove into covering several big hits of other music stars. Until the 21st, he was able to establish a performance career and maintained international exposure through his concerts. In 2011, he was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. This is the highest honor that the State of Florida bestows on an individual citizen.
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