Floyd Tillman

Floyd Tillman
Born (1914-12-08)December 8, 1914
Ryan, Oklahoma
Origin San Antonio, Texas, United States
Died August 22, 2003(2003-08-22) (aged 88)
Bacliff, Texas
Genres Country music, Western swing, Honky tonk
Occupation(s) musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 19382003
Labels Decca, Musicor, RCA Victor, Columbia, Heart of Texas

Floyd Tillman (December 8, 1914 August 22, 2003) was an American country musician who, in the 1930s and 1940s, helped create the Western swing and honky tonk genres. Tillman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984.


Early life

Tillman grew up in the cotton-mill town of Post, Texas as a sharecropper's son. One of his early jobs was with Western Union as a telegraph operator. In the early 1930s He played mandolin at local dances and eventually took up the guitar.

Musical career

Tillman moved to San Antonio played lead guitar with Adolph Hofner, a Western swing bandleader, and soon developed into a songwriter and singer. He took a job with Houston pop bandleader Mack Clark in 1938 and played with Western swing groups fronted by Leon “Pappy” Selph and Cliff Bruner. He also worked with Ted Daffan, and singer and piano player Moon Mullican.

Tillman recorded as a featured vocalist with Selph’s Blue Ridge Playboys in 1938, the same year Floyd scored his first major songwriting hit, "It Makes No Difference Now", giving him his own Decca recording contract. Jimmie Davis purchased the song from Floyd for $300, the rights to which he got back 28 years later.

Tillman's only No. 1 one song as a singer was "They Took the Stars Out of Heaven". It reached the top of the charts in 1944. Previously, he had reached No. 2 with "I'm Gonna Change All My Ways". His 1944 hit, "Each Night At Nine", struck a chord with lonely servicemen during World War II. Axis Sally and Tokyo Rose played it heavily to encourage desertion.

A big hit for Tillman and also for Jimmy Wakely was 1948's "I Love You So Much It Hurts". His 1949 "Slippin' Around", one of the first country western "cheating" songs, was a hit for Tillman as well as Ernest Tubb, Texas Jim Robertson and the duo of Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely. Tillman had another successful song with his own answer, "I'll Never Slip Around Again", as did the Whiting-Wakely duo. He slowed down on his performing in the early 1950s, although he appeared on ABC-TV's Jubilee USA in 1958 and 1959.

Tillman's final album, recorded in 20022003 titled The Influence, paired him with country music artists who 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. The project, released in April 2004, featured liner notes by Dr. Bill Malone, Bill Mack, Hank Thompson and Willie Nelson. It was produced by Justin Trevino (country singer) on Heart of Texas Records.


Year Single US Country
1944 "They Took the Stars Out of Heaven" 1
"G.I. Blues" 5
"Each Night at Nine" 4
1946 "Drivin' Nails in My Coffin" 2
1948 "I Love You So Much It Hurts" 5
1949 "Please Don't Pass Me By" 14
"Slippin' Around" 5
"I'll Never Slip Around Again" 6
"I Gotta Have My Baby Back" 4
1960 "It Just Tears Me Up" 29

Selected works

Title Master no Artists Recorded Original issue
A Precious Memory65158Floyd Tillman6 March 1939, HoustonDecca 5696
Why Do I Love You Floyd Tillman6 March 1939, HoustonDecca 5696
I'm Always Dreaming of You66327Floyd Tillman29 August 1939, HoustonDecca 5801
Don't Be Blue66328Floyd Tillman6 March 1939, HoustonDecca 5741
Maybe I'll Get By Without You66330Floyd Tillman6 March 1939, HoustonDecca 5801
I Love You So Much It Hurts Vic Damone, Floyd Tillman and Connie Smith, Red Foley, Ernest Tubb, Ray Charles, Ray Price, Mickey Gilley, Andy Williams, Marie Osmond, Eddy Arnold, Floyd Tillman, Jimmy Wakely, Patsy Cline RCA Victor 20-7157 A-side
Slipping Around Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely, Ernest Tubb, Floyd Tillman, Texas Jim Robertson, Marion Worth and George Morgan, Roy Drusky and Priscilla Mitchell, Mack Abernathy, Floyd Tillman and Dolly Parton, Ray Anthony RCA Victor 20-7157 B-side
I Gotta Have My Baby Back Floyd Tillman, Red Foley, Ella Fitzgerald, Justin Tubb, Ray Price, Floyd Tillman and Ray Price, Rex Allen, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Hank Thompson, Glen CampbellOctober 1949, Houston Columbia 20641
I Am Music (Song of Music) Skeets McDonald
It Makes No Difference Now
Co-writer: Jimmie Davis
Eddy Arnold, Bing Crosby, The Supremes, Gene Autry, Ray Charles, Jimmie Davis, Willie Nelson, Hank Snow, Ray Pennington, Buddy Emmons, Hank Thompson, Merle Haggard, Burl Ives Musicor 1355 A-side
The Stars Fell Out Of Heaven93739Floyd Tillman30 April 1941, DallasDecca 6090
This Cold War With You Floyd Tillman Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Ray Price, Rex Allen, Columbia 20615
Why Do You Treat Me This Way? Floyd Tillman30 April 1941, DallasDecca 6090
Each Night At Nine Floyd Tillman20 April 1944, New York CityDecca 6104
G.I. Blues Floyd Tillman
Some Other World Floyd Tillman Columbia 20026
Daisy May Ernest Tubb, Floyd Tillman11 April 1940, HoustonDecca 5845
Please Don't Pass Me By Floyd Tillman
I'll Never Slip Around Again Floyd Tillman, Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely, Doris Day Columbia 20615

References and external links


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