Country Superstar Mel Tillis has passed away at the age of 85 following a lengthy illness.
Rolling Stone had the following to say about Tillis:
"As a songwriter, he was known for hits that included the Bobby Bare single "Detroit City", Webb Pierce's "I'm Tired" and the 1969 crossover tune for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town." As a recording artist and performer, the affable Tillis was the CMA's Entertainer of the Year in 1976, a mainstream country-music superstar at a time when the genre was dominated by pop-leaning country and the burgeoning outlaw movement."
"In 1956, country superstar Webb Pierce recorded "I'm Tired", which Tillis penned with Ray Price and Buck Peddy. The song's success (it reached number three) would lead Tillis to sign with Pierce's music-publishing company, Cedarwood. In 1958, he joined the Columbia Records roster and released his debut single, "A Violet and a Rose". Joining Kapp Records, he had his biggest solo hits to date in 1965 with "Wine" and "Stateside", with the latter tune inspiring the name of his longtime band the Statesiders. The first single credited to Tillis and the group, "These Lonely Hands of Mine", became the singer's second Top Ten hit."
"In addition to songwriting and recording, Tillis made several appearences in films and television, acting on the big screen in W.W and the Dixie Dancekings, Smokey and the Bandit II and Cannonball Run with Burt Reynolds."
"Tillis was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007, just two months after becoming an official member of the Grand Ole Opry. In February, 2012, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to artists and arts patrons."