Country music suffered a blow with the loss of Mel Tillis this week, but his enduring legacy lives on through his music and the artists he has influenced. This is best seen on the stage of at the heart of country music, The Grand Ole Opry. The Opry recently released Tillis’ 2015 performance of “The Arms of a Fool”, which sadly was to be his last time standing in The Circle.
No stage better exemplifies the history, tradition, and family of the genre of which Tillis was a part.
Throughout his 60+ year career, he recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, six #1 hits (“I Ain’t Never,” “Coca-Cola Cowboy,” “Southern Rains,” “Good Woman Blues,” “Heart Healer,” and “I Believe In You”), was named the Country Music Association’s coveted Entertainer of the Year, and was elected a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He wrote over 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers (“Ruby, Don’t You Take Your Love To Town”), George Strait (“Thoughts Of A Fool”), and Ricky Skaggs (“Honey, Open That Door”). Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) named Tillis Songwriter of the Decade for two decades. In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts.