|Mel Tillis in 1978|
Unfortunately, I have to report another sad piece of news from the 'which way' family this morning after the death was announced of country legend Mel Tillis. He was 85.
According to the Tennessean, Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. after almost two years of ill health stemming from a bout of diverticulitis, for which he received surgery. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.
Tillis began recording in the late 1950s and continued to perform through 2015, but remained best known for a string of No. 1 country hits in the late ’70s, along with a succession of appearances in Hollywood movies alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood that helped make him a household name even outside the country music sphere.
His song Coca Cola Cowboy was of course featured in Every which way but loose in 1978. However, the version that appeared on the soundtrack was a slightly edited version with a different arrangement, as it actually makes reference to both Clint and Robert Redford. Having 'Eastwood' mentioned in an 'Eastwood' film would perhaps seem a little out of place, so the lyric 'Eastwood smile' is replaced with 'Sexy smile.’
So I thought I would post the original Coca Cola Cowboy here today as a tribute.