Johnny Tillotson 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'". He also sang "Yellow Bird", an adaptation of the Haitian song.
From late 1959, a succession of singles - "True True Happiness," "Why Do I Love You So," and a double-sided single covering the R&B hits "Earth Angel" and "Pledging My Love" - all reached the bottom half of the Hot 100. His biggest success came with his sixth single, the up-tempo "Poetry in Motion", written by Paul Kaufman and Mike Anthony, and recorded in Nashville with session musicians including saxophonist Boots Randolph and pianist Floyd Cramer, Released in September 1960, it went to # 2 on the Hot 100 in the US, and # 1 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1961. On Bleyer's advice, Tillotson focused primarily on his recording career, but also appeared on television and began to be featured as a teen idol in magazines. His follow-up record, "Jimmy's Girl," reached # 25 in the US charts and # 43 in the UK; after that, "Without You" returned him to the US Top Ten but failed to make the UK charts. He also toured widely as part of Dick Clark's Cavalcade Of Stars.
Early in 1962, Tillotson recorded a song he had written himself, "It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'," inspired by the terminal illness of his father. It became one of his biggest hits, reaching # 3 in the US pop chart and becoming the first of his records to make the country music charts, where it peaked at # 4. It earned him his first Grammy nomination, for Best Country & Western Recording, and was later recorded by over 100 performers including Elvis Presley and Billy Joe Royal, whose version was a country hit in 1988. Tillotson then recorded an album, It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin', on which he covered several country standards including Hank Locklin's "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On" and Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)," which also became hit singles. He continued to record both country-flavored and pop songs in 1963, and "You Can Never Stop Me Loving You" and its follow-up, the Willie Nelson song "Funny How Time Slips Away," both made the Hot 100. He also appeared in the 1963 movie Just for Fun.