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"Honky-Tonk Man" Writer Tillman Franks Dies
Famed musician, songwriter and artist manager Tillman Franks, 86, died Thursday (Oct. 26) in Shreveport, La., following a lengthy illness. The Stamps, Ark., native began his professional career as a bassist with the Bailes Brothers on KWKH radio's first broadcast of the Louisiana Hayride show in 1948 in Shreveport. He toured with Webb Pierce as part of a band that included Floyd Cramer and Faron Young. He later booked artists as head of the Louisiana Hayride Artist Bureau and also managed several acts, including Pierce, Claude King, Slim Whitman, David Houston, the Carlisles, Jimmy C. Newman and Johnny Horton. Franks was the sole writer of Horton's first No. 1 single, 1959's "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)." He and Horton were co-writers of "Honky-Tonk Man," Horton's 1956 hit that Dwight Yoakam recorded as his first single. Franks was injured in the automobile accident in Texas that claimed Horton's life in 1960. Although details are pending, funeral services for Franks will be held at the Oakmont Church of God in Shreveport.
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