Tillis dies at 85

Sunday, November 19, 2017 – Long-time country star Mel Tillis, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, passed away early this morning in Ocala, Fla. at 85.

Tillis, who was also known for his stutter, battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born in Tampa, Fla. on Aug. 8, 1932. Throughout his 60-plus year career, the Grand Ole Opry member recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, 6 number 1 hits ("I Ain't Never," "Coca-Cola Cowboy," "Southern Rains," "Good Woman Blues," "Heart Healer" and "I Believe In You") and was named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year.

Tillis wrote more than 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers ("Ruby, Don't You Take Your Love To Town"), George Strait ("Thoughts Of A Fool") and Ricky Skaggs ("Honey, Open That Door"). In February 2012, President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts.

Tillis leaves behind six children (Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis and Hannah Puryear), six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children (Doris Tillis) and his longtime partner (Kathy DeMonaco).

More news for Mel Tillis

CD reviews for Mel Tillis

Me and Pepper CD review - Me and Pepper
This disc, which features Tillis riding his horse Pepper on the cover, contains its share of highlights. One in particular, "Lying Time Again," smartly rhymes its title with a popular hit by substituting "lying" for "crying." Tillis' full-bodied vocals bring out the lyric's pathos when he moans, "Lord, the stories never end/And it's lying time again." With "This Is Me," Tillis distances himself from all the prior losers in a woman's life. »»»
Your Body is an Outlaw CD review - Your Body is an Outlaw
The reissue is the least satisfying of three out at the same time. Its title is clumsy, at best, and its lyric isn't much better. "Your body is an outlaw/Stealin' from my soul." Tillis is pictured on the back cover aiming a rifle, supposedly to support the album's outlaw image. But despite having "outlaw" in its title, this is not Tillis' attempt to ride the country outlaw movement bandwagon. Nevertheless, both the title track, which features daughter Pam on »»»
Southern Rain CD review - Southern Rain
Collector's Choice Music released three previously out-of-print Mel Tillis Elektra Records albums at the same time. "Southern Rain," "Your Body Is an Outlaw" and "Me and Pepper" all date back to Tillis' 1979-82 period and contain plenty of fine Tillis singing. The finest CD in this trio is "Southern Rain." Although its title track also represents Tillis' last number one country hit, it's not the disc's best song. »»»