This Week in Texas Music History: Floyd Tillman
This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll go slippin’ around with a honky-tonk legend.
Floyd Tillman was born in Ryan, Oklahoma, on December 8, 1914, although his family moved to Post, Texas, when he was just a few months old. During the 1930s, Tillman played western swing, but by the 1940s, he was helping to shape a new sound that would come to be called honky-tonk. Honky-tonk bands typically played a shuffle beat, instead of the earlier swing rhythm. Honky-tonk songs also reflected changing social mores following World War II, with lyrics that often focused on drinking, divorce, and infidelity. Floyd Tillman wrote several honky tonk hits, but his 1949 song “Slippin’ Around” perhaps best represents the early honky tonk sound.
Floyd Tillman’s songs have been recorded by Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and many others. Tillman also won numerous awards, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984.
Next Time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a university that offered the nation’s first degree in jazz studies.