Via The Dallas Morning News' Robert Wilonsky (on Twitter) and Alan Peppard (who wrote the obit), we're learning of the death of Bill Tillman, the former Blood, Sweat and Tears sax player, at age 66.
Peppard notes that Tillman toured nationally with acts such as Roy Orbison, Gladys Knight and Chuck Berry, and that he was a soloist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 1980.
Tillman -- who was, to our knowledge, not connected to the Tillman's Roadhouse restaurants in Fort Worth and Dallas -- was a longtime Plano resident, and his name comes up often in our archives. A 1991 Star-Telegram profile noted that his nine-piece Dallas horn band had been performing on DFW stages for a decade -- and he continued performing long after that story appeared, with gigs at clubs such as Arlington's Fatso's and at the Fort Worth Symphony's Concerts in the Garden, as well as a number of charity events and festivals throughout DFW.
One of Tillman's more unusual gigs was playing at the reception after the Dallas wedding of Roger Clinton, President Clinton's half-brother, in 1994. Although advance reports said that President Clinton would join Tillman for a sax duet, Tillman told the Star-Telegram afterward that Clinton did not join in.
In late 1995, Tillman opened Bill Tillman's Seafood House and Sax Club on Hulen Bend Boulevard in southwest Fort Worth. The restaurant offered Louisiana-style seafood and featured music and dancing, with Tillman's band appearing regularly. Although the club was popular, it didn't last -- as is often the case, a club's opening got more attention than its closing, but by 1998, a Tex-Mex cafe had taken over the Tillman's space. Tillman opened another club, Bill Tillman's, in Lewisville in 2005.
Here's a time-capsule moment featuring Tillman in BS&T -- as the group does a song that's sadly fitting.