Mel Tillis came to the country music scene as a songwriter, serving as the force behind the pen that crafted songs for a number of hitmakers in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Eventually, he started making some headway as an artist. For many years, Mel Tillis songs appeared regularly on Billboard’s country chart.
And today, we’re going to look at some of his finest hits. Keep on scrolling below to find out!
1. Coca-Cola Cowboy
“Coca-Cola Cowboy” is one of Mel Tillis‘ biggest hits, helping him solidify his career as a country superstar. The song tells the story of a cowboy who’s down on his luck. It also gave American actor Clint Eastwood a special mention.
Interestingly, it was featured in the action-comedy film, Every Which Way But Loose – which starred Eastwood while Tillis had a cameo appearance.
2. I Ain’t Never
The story behind this song is as interesting as the tune itself. According to Tillis, he wrote “I Ain’t Never” by himself – but agreed to credit honky-tonk vocalist Webb Pierce as a co-writer in exchange for a pair of boots Pierce was wearing.
Indeed, those old boots cost Tillis thousands of dollars in royalties as the song reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Country charts when Pierce released it in 1959. Meanwhile, Tillis released it over a decade later. His version ranked No. 1 on the country chart.
3. Life Turned Her That Way
Written by prolific songwriter Harlan Howard, the song has been covered by various famous country acts such as Ricky Van Shelton, George Jones, Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, and of course, Tillis. His version went to No. 11 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
4. What Did I Promise Her Last Night
In the song, Tillis finds himself singing about a middle-aged married man who feels remorse for having a sexual encounter with a woman he had just met.
He’s afraid he might have her believe that it was love when in fact, the passion’s gone. He senses she has had a string of failed relationships and wonders to himself how many one-night stands she must go through before finding a love that’s right.
5. I Believe in You
Tillis revisited the Nashville Sound crooner style in “I Believe in You” – and his versatility as a baritone singer and country stylist just perfectly suits as he sings about the power of love and faith.
The song tells a man’s narrative who has been through some of the most challenging times yet still chose to believe in himself, with the support of a loved one. It is such a great reminder for us to never let go of our dreams despite all the difficulties life throws at us.
6. Good Woman Blues
Tillis achieved his biggest success when he signed with MCA Records in 1976. The second single, “Good Woman Blues,” off his debut album with the record label, reached No. 1 on the country chart. It tells the story of a man trying to figure out where he went wrong in his relationship, putting Tillis’ story-telling ability on full display.
It was followed by several more hits that helped Tillis win the coveted award of Entertainment of the Year from the Country Music Association Awards in 1976.
7. Heart Healer
Well, there’s absolutely no sweeter than finding a sweetheart who comes along to pick you up and heal your heart that hasn’t been whole. While his family and friends say he has to take it slow, this man can’t restrain his feelings for her.
A lot of country fans surely relate to the song that it became one of Tillis’ biggest hits in the mid-1970s! It ranked No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for an entire week, spending a total of nine weeks on the said chart.
8. Memory Maker
Tillis tackles one of the most popular themes in country music – and that’s being in love with a girl who didn’t do him right, yet her memories keep on crawling over his mind. He can’t help his tears from falling as he thinks about the thing that might have been. It’s truly one of the best breakup songs there is, capturing Tillis as one of the voices of day-to-day people’s heartbreaks.
9. Southern Rains
Here’s another chart-topper by Tillis. Roger Murrah wrote “Southern Rains” to relieve his homesickness after moving to Nashville from Alabama, where his family lived. With Tillis’ demeanor and versatile baritone voice, he efficiently delivered all the aching of a man with a weary soul.
10. I Got the Hoss
Tillis first recorded the song in 1967. He re-recorded and released it as a single ten years later. This lighthearted and fun track tells the story of a man who got a horse as a gift. He then had to figure out how to take care of it, with Tillis putting his trademark humor on full display.
“I Got The Hoss” ranked No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
Some More Mel Tillis Songs That Showcase His Fascinating Talent
Here are some more fan-favorite songs by Mel Tillis.
These Mel Tillis songs absolutely show how incredibly talented he was. We’ll never find another one like him, that’s for sure.