Born in Ryan, Oklahoma on December 8, 1914, but raised in Post, Texas, Floyd Tillman was drawn to playing music by the fact that two of his brothers were earning $5 a night playing dances at a local skating rink.
Tillman's single-string jazz stylings on the guitar were enough to get him work, but he began to sing when nobody else in the band knew a song he had written. His swooping singing, sliding into notes, and his behind-the-beat phrasing make his voice distinctive.
Tillman's composition, "It Makes No Difference Now," which he sold for $300, established him as a songwriter in 1938, and led to his own Decca recording contract.
His 1944 hit, "Each Night At Nine," captured the feelings of lonely servicemen so well that both Axis Sally and Tokyo Rose played it heavily to encourage desertion.
In 1948 "I Love You So Much It Hurts" was a huge hit for Tillman and also for Jimmy Wakely. His 1949 "Slippin' Around," one of the first cheating songs and the first not to moralize, was a hit not only for Tillman, but also for Ernest Tubb, Texas Jim Robertson and the duo of Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely. Tillman had a smash with his own answer, "I'll Never Slip Around Again," as did the Whiting/Wakely duo.
Other classics written and recorded by Tillman include "I Gotta Have My Baby Back" and "This Cold War With You."
Tillman was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984 by Willie Nelson, whose own phrasing owes much to Tillman's style. He died in 2003.