In 1957 a local D.J. submitted a tape of  Johnny's singing to the National Pet Milk Talent Contest.  Johnny was chosen as one of the six national winners from this tape, which afforded him the opportunity to sing on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee,….

Johnny Tillotson--Biography

JOHNNY TILLOTSON'S artistic ability
and energetic personality consistently delight
audiences of all age groups.

He was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but at nine years old he was given the responsibility to take care of his grandmother in Palatka, Florida, some 50 miles away. He traveled back to Jacksonville to be with his parents each summer. It was at this early age that he decided to be a singer and with the encouragement of his Mother and Grandmother, Johnny began to perform at local functions and on the radio.  By the time he entered Palatka Sr. High School he had quite a reputation as a talented singer throughout the state of Florida.

His first television appearance was as a guest on the Toby Dowdy Show. Johnny's performance produced a steady stream of fan mail and resulted in a three year contract as a regular on the country oriented show. When the Toby Dowdy show went off the air, Johnny had the opportunity to do his own show. He successfully juggled his weekly T.V. show and his studies at the University of Florida until graduation.

It was during these years that Johnny began writing songs. In 1957,    a local D.J. submitted a tape of Johnny's singing to the National Pet Milk Talent Contest. Johnny was chosen as one of the 6 national winners from this tape, which afforded him the opportunity to perform on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee,where he was to receive his biggest break. Miss Lee Rosenberg a Nashville music publisher, was so impressed with Johnny, she took his tape to Archie Bleyer. Archie was the owner of Cadence Records and the force behind much of the success of the Everly Brothers, Andy Williams, the Chordettes and many other artists.

While Johnny was finishing his studies at the University of Florida, (He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and Communications in 1959.) Archie recorded Johnny singing his own composition "Dreamy Eyes". This song went to the top of the charts in Florida and many other parts of the country, which proved to Archie that Johnny had what it took to sell records. He invited Johnny to move to New York City immediately upon graduating from college. This was the start of a string of chart records, "Poetry In Motion", "It Keeps Right On A Hurtin", "Without You",,"Send Me The Pillow That You Dream
On" and many more. It was "It Keeps Right On A Hurtin "one of Johnny's own compositions which brought Johnny his first Grammy nomination along with the distinction of becoming one of the first "cross-over" artists. This established Johnny as a country-pop star. The song went on to be recorded by 108 artists including Elvis Presley and most recently it became a #l selling country hit by Billy Joe Royal.

With 18 Chart records to his credit he moved to M.G.M Records where his first release "Talk Back Trembling Lips" was a huge success. This was followed by another 8 chart records including "Heartaches By The Number",which gave Johnny his second Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Performance. He also recorded the popular hit theme song for the T.V. show "Gidget" starring Sally Field. His other hits included "She Understands Me", "Worry", and "You're The Reason". These hits and his endearing personality and stage presence have enabled Johnny to have a very successful concert career, entertaining audiences all over the world
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