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Mel Tillis, country music star known as 'Stutterin' Boy,' dead at 85
20 November 2017, 02:07 | Nina Hammond
Country music legend dead: Mel Tillis dies at 85 following health battle
He was also a member of the Grand Ole Opry and a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee.
Tillis had undergone colon surgery in January 2016 and canceled a scheduled trip on the Country Music Cruise.
Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis on August 8, 1932, "Mel" gained fame in the 1970s with a string of successful hits. It wasn't a commercial success, but the group was nominated for vocal event of the year by the Country Music Association.
In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts. His stutter became a trademark that Tillis mined for laughs, although it disappeared when he sang. Over the course of his long career, he wrote more than 1,000 songs, recorded more than 60 albums, had almost three dozen top-10 singles, and pegged six No. 1 hits, including "Coca-Cola Cowboy", "I Ain't Never", and "I Believe in You". He dropped out of the University of Florida and instead served in the Air Force and worked on the railroad before relocating to Nashville in 1957.
"Pam's father was dearly loved and one of a kind". Years later, he got his first No. 1 single with "I Ain't Never", and his "Coca Cola Cowboy" was featured in the Clint Eastwood film "Every Which Way but Loose". He also briefly co-hosted an ABC prime-time series, "Mel and Susan Together", with supermodel Susan Anton in 1978.
The most prominent latter-day cover of a Tillis song came when Robert Plant and Alison Krauss recorded "Stick With Me Baby" for their T Bone Burnett-produced "Raising Sand", which won a 2007 Grammy for Album of the Year.
Grubbs says the Tillis family will release information about funeral services in Florida and Nashville. "There's a big difference between a concert and a show".
Tillis appeared on several television shows, including "Hee Haw" and "Hollywood Squares". "You always felt good about being around him".
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