Thursday, March 10, 2011

Johnny Tillotson

Johnny Tillotson Another guy who falls under the baby boomer radar. Tillotson had 25 singles on the top 100 between 1959 and 1965, 14 of those in the top 40 and 4 in the top 10, but most of us have never heard of him. It seems that he was some kind of teenage idol – “Johnny” is next to “Bobby” in the ranking of teen idol first names – but his music crossed over into country even on his biggest hits. Surprising that they didn’t call him Johnny Tee.

The collection here is from an Canadian release called Greatest Hits, on Quality. It had 10 tracks, and I threw a few singles in there as well, but I still come up short by thirteen songs.

Johnny Tillotson:

You Can Never Stop Me Loving You – Frustrated romance, the subject of a gagillion songs. This one, about how he’s going to get even with her by loving her long after she’s done with him, is from the fall of 1963.
I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You – Johnny does Hank Williams. Guy Mitchell recorded this, so did B. J. Thomas, so did a million others. From the fall of 1962.
Why Do I Love You So – A song about mixed messages. She gets his hopes up, then does a 23 skidoo. He still loves her notwithstanding her erratic behaviour. Of course he does; he’s still stuck on that girl he fell in love with, not the one who pulled the disappearing act. He sings like his life depends on it, especially the wordless oos. From the spring of 1960.
Dreamy Eyes – His first hit, from early 1959. It re-charted 3 years later. Everything you need to know about this song is in the title.
Poetry In Motion – His biggest hit. It’s dumb, but we all know what he means, don’t we, boys… From the fall of 1960. “She’s much too nice to rearrange…”
It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’ – It doesn’t really, keep on hurting. Only in pop songs. From the summer of 1962.
Without You – The label of the LP that I got this from credited this to Ham & Evans, the two Badfinger members who wrote the Without You that was a hit for Harry Nilsson. This is an entirely different song. It’s not The Doobie Brothers record either. From the fall of 1961.
Out Of My Mind – Here is where he comes out of the country closet. From the spring of 1960.
Jimmy’s Girl – Romantic daydreams spin out of control. From the winter of 1961.
Talk Back Trembling Lips – Relationship as a contest. Not healthy. From the winter of 63 / 64.
She Understands Me – Every man’s dream, framed in the context of “she’s better than you.” Bobby Vinton did this also. Its dum de dies and rolling melody say more than the words. From the winter of 64 / 65.
Send Me The Pillow You Dream On – By Hank Locklin. Covered by The Browns and later by Dean Martin. From the fall of 1962.

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