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Johnny Tillotson

Johnny Tillotson (born 20 April 1938 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA) is an American singer and songwriter. He enjoyed his greatest success in the early 1960s, when he scored 9 top-ten hits on the pop, country and adult contemporary billboard charts including “Poetry In Motion” and the self-penned “It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’”.

In 1957 while still in high school, Tillotson was making records and performing on stage; as a student at the University of Florida, he had his own musical variety show on regional television. Following graduation in 1959 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communications, he signed with Cadence Records and moved to New York City to pursue his music career. In 1960, he recorded his first hit, a composition entitled “Poetry in Motion” (written by Anthony/Kaufman), that went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and #1 on the UK Singles Chart.

A “crossover” artist, several of Tillotson’s songs were successful on both the country music charts and pop charts. He earned a Grammy Award nomination for another of his own compositions, “It Keeps Right On a-Hurtin,” and also for the song “Heartaches by the Number,” nominated for Best Vocal Performance of 1965. He also appeared in the 1963 film “Just for Fun” and sang the theme song for the 1965 Sally Field television comedy “Gidget”.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Tillotson has recorded 26 singles that made it onto Billboard’s charts, and performed at venues across the United States and other places around the globe.


Johnny Tillotson (born April 20, 1939, Jacksonville, Florida; raised in Palatka) is an American singer and songwriter. Tillotson enjoyed his greatest success in the early 1960s when he scored a series of Top Ten hits including "Poetry in Motion" and the self-penned "It Keeps Right on a-Hurtin'." In total, he placed 30 singles and albums in the Billboard charts between 1958 and 1984, most of them in the pop chart, though he also reached the country, R&B, and easy listening charts. His string of hits allowed him to establish a performing career both in the U.S. and around the world, that kept him steadily working well into the 21st century.

50s, 60s Hits

Poetry In Motion

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