Floyd Tillman

Induction Year: 1970

Birth Name: Floyd Tillman

Birth Date: 12-08-1914

Place of Birth: Ryan, Oklahoma

Death Date: 08-22-2003

Place of Death: Bacliff, Texas

Highly influential as a jazz-inflected singer whose style would influence Willie Nelson, Floyd Tillman wrote an early pop crossover hit, "It Makes No Difference Now," as well as one of country's best-known cheating songs, "Slipping Around."

As a recording artist, Tillman focused on Western swing and honky-tonk music, but his songs traveled freely beyond categories. Tillman-penned songs have been recorded by an array of performers, including Bing Crosby, Ray Charles, Andy Williams, John Prine and Nelson, who called Tillman country music's "original outlaw." That "outlaw" tag had nothing to do with Tillman's behavior. Rather, Nelson was referring to Tillman's refusal to stay within the stereotypes of any one musical genre.

Raised in Texas, Tillman played local dances as a young man. At those dances, he would often bend notes and phrase lyrics behind the beat in a manner more in line with jazz music than with country. He became a top-drawer, jazz-influenced lead guitar player and worked in other performers' bands before signing with Decca as a recording artist in 1939. By then, he had already experienced his first songwriting success, as Cliff Bruner scored with a 1938 recording of "It Makes No Difference Now," a song that would later be recorded by Bing Crosby, Ray Charles, the Supremes, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. Tillman became a solo star in 1944, on the strength of #1 hit "They Took the Stars Out of Heaven." Also in 1944, Tillman had wartime hits with "Each Night at Nine" and "G.I. Blues," each of which addressed the struggles of soldiers. Tillman himself served as a radio operator in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Tillman's 1948 hit "I Love You So Much It Hurts" would spawn numerous cover versions, and in 1949 he hit with "Slipping Around," a song about the then-taboo theme of infidelity. "Slipping Around" was a #5 country hit for Tillman in 1949, but it was Margaret Whiteman and Jimmy Wakely's version that topped country and pop charts that same year.

Tillman tired of the road, and by the early 1950s he had ceased touring. He remained a writer and occasional performer throughout his life, penning hundreds of songs. Tillman entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984. Shortly before his death, he participated in a tribute album, dueting on his songs with admirers including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Dolly Parton and others. Released in 2004, it was titled The Influence.

"Each Night at Nine"

Floyd Tillman1944 #4 country
Ernest Tubb1965 
Dave Dudley1966 
Slim Whitman1970 
Willie Nelson1995 

"G.I. Blues"

Floyd Tillman1944 #5 country

"I Gotta Have My Baby Back"

Floyd Tillman1949 #4 country
Red Foley1949 #10 country
Ella Fitzgerald & the Mills Brothers1949 
Les Paul & Mary Ford1962 
Glen Campbell1967 #73 country

"I Love You Just As You Are"

Floyd Tillman1950 

"I Love You So Much It Hurts"

Floyd Tillman1948 #5 country
Jimmy Wakely1948 #1 country
Mills Brothers1949 #8 pop, #8 R&B
Eddy Arnold1954 
Charlie Gracie1957 #71 pop
Ray Charles1962 
Patsy Cline1962 
Della Reese1962 
Les Paul & Mary Ford1962 
Jerry Lee Lewis1970 
Shelby Lynne1989 
John Prine1995 

"I'll Keep on Loving You"

Cliff Bruner1938 
Light Crust Doughboys1939 
Tennessee Ramblers1939 
Connee Boswell1941 #22 pop

"I'll Never Slip Around Again"

Floyd Tillman1949 #6 country
Margaret Whiteman & Jimmy Wakely1949 #2 country
Doris Day1949 

"I'm Falling for You"

Floyd Tillman1950 

"It Makes No Difference Now"

Cliff Bruner1938 
Jimmie Davis1938 
Light Crust Doughboys1938 
Fisher Hendley1938 
Wilf Carter1938 
Bing Crosby1940 #23 pop
Gene Autry1941 
Eddy Arnold1947 
Ray Charles1962 
The Supremes1965 
Jerry Lee Lewis1969 
Willie Nelson & Hank Snow1985 

"Let's Make Memories Tonight"

Floyd Tillman1954 

"Please Don't Pass Me By"

Floyd Tillman1949 #14 country

"Slipping Around"

Floyd Tillman1949 #5 country
Margaret Whiteman & Jimmy Wakely1949 #1 country, #8 pop
Ernest Tubb1949 #1 country
Texas Jim Robertson1950 #13 country
Marion Worth & George Morgan1964 #23 country
Roy Drusky & Priscilla Mitchell1965 #45 country

"They Took the Stars Out of Heaven"

Floyd Tillman1944 #1 country

"This Cold War with You"

Floyd Tillman1949 
Don Gibson1962 
Ray Price1965 
John Prine1979 
Willie Nelson1995 
Merle Haggard1996 

Floyd Tillman

Induction Year: 1970