Singer/Songwriter Mel Tillis Dies
Country singer/songwriter Mel Tillis has passed away at the age of 85.
ABC News reports Tillis died on Sunday after a long battle with intestinal issues. Doctors say they believe he died of respiratory failure.
Perhaps best known for his trademark stutter, Tillis was also a talented songwriter, who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers (Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town), Ricky Skaggs (Honey, Open That Door), Bobby Bare (Detroit City), and others. His songwriting got him started, when record companies refused to sign him as a singer because of his stutter. Mel wrote more than 1,000 songs, for himself as well as others.
But it was that stutter that set him apart. Tillis knew how to joke about it, and wasn't shy about using it in comedy routines. He said he'd struggled with it all his life, including in the military when he marched a platoon into a wall because he couldn't get out the word 'halt!' He broke into acting, using the stutter as a comedic piece in movies, opposite Bert Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, and others.
Mel Tillis was one of the greats, who will be sorely missed in Country Music. The video shows Mel's performance of 'Coca-Cola Cowboy,' and you'll notice a few other familiar faces singing along. Rest in peace, Mel. Thanks for songs and the laughs.