Bobby Bare's 1963 single of Tillis and Danny Dill's "Detroit City"
The late Mel Tillis first made his name as a composer writing songs that became hits for others, a career path similar to that of Roger Miller and Willie Nelson, whe were first famous as songwriters before becoming star vocalists in their own right. Here's a sample of Tillis compositions that became hits for others, starting with the man who discovered him after a fashion: Webb Pierce and ending with Ricky Skaggs, who took a Tillis song to # 1 in 1984.
Given the choice of having a pig or a banjo, in 1928, 11 years old Ralph Edmund Stanley chose the banjo. American Music was better for it. His passing after a battle with skin cancer wasn't unexpected. His grandson Nathan passed the word on social media some weeks ago. Known for his superb five-string banjo work and eerie, haunting vocals, he was the one of the last major first-generation bluegrass bandleaders still standing. His passing last night at age 89 leaves a permanent void. The survivors are Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman and Bobby Osborne.