Back to Oral History
  • Oral History

Tillman Franks

August 13, 1980 OHC122 138 min.


Country music manager and songwriter. Born September 29, 1920. Died October 26, 2006. Played bass for several acts on the Louisiana Hayride. His songwriting credits include “How Far is Heaven” (recorded by Kitty Wells, 1949), “Honky Tonk Man” (recorded by Johnny Horton, 1956), and “When It’s Springtime in Alaska” (recorded by Johnny Horton, 1958). Manager for many country artists, including Webb Pierce, the Carlisles, Claude King, Slim Whitman, David Houston, and Johnny Horton.

Interview Summary

1980 August 13
(2 hours, 18 minutes)
Tillman Franks discusses the country acts he’s managed and the shows he’s promoted. Topics include Jimmie Rodgers as an early influence; his close friendship with Jimmie Davis; his Louisiana Hayride days; broadcasting on the Voice of America while in the military; memories of Pete Seeger and his comedy; meeting Roy Acuff; writing and selling his own compositions; booking acts for the Hayride, including Hank Williams and Elvis Presley; recording sessions for Pacemaker Records; and managing Webb Pierce, David Houston, Claude King, Bill Carlisle, and Johnny Horton.

We use cookies in the following ways: (1) for system administration, (2) to assess the performance of the website, (3) to personalize your experience, content and ads, (4) to provide social media features, and (5) to analyze our traffic. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Please consult instructions for your web browser to disable or block cookies, or to receive a warning before a cookie is stored on your computer or mobile device. Read our Privacy Policy.