Jun 04

JOHNNY TILLOTSON – “Poetry In Motion”

Popular10 comments • 2,441 views

#111, 14th January 1961

With the help of a sax as cheeky as himself, Tillotson gives a trifling song the big sell, and I buy it. How does it work? The teasy intro and chipper tune; Tillotson’s piping voice and the way he sings “mo-shun!”; the way he balances a little lust with a lot of real fondness and an aw-shucks glee at the female form.



  1. 1
    Joe Williams on 29 Aug 2005 #

    This makes me think of ‘Back To The Future’, as it’s the kind of thing that would be performed by the loser band before Marty turns up and invents Chuck Berry. Awful.

  2. 2
    newjerseybt on 13 Mar 2007 #

    A “tease” in 1961… a ho-hum today….good for a nostalgic moral benchmark.

  3. 3
    endy on 10 Dec 2007 #

    In reference to the version of the song on youTube at http://youtube.com/watch?v=PPM5khluZWE – I like the sax and I also feel that the piano keys in the background (don’t know what that kind of piano work in the background is called) which I think does a lot for the song.

  4. 4
    rosie on 27 Jul 2008 #

    It reminds me of Robert Herrick!

    Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
    That brave vibration each way free
    O how that glittering taketh me!

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 7 Feb 2010 #

    Light Entertainment watch: Just one UK TV performance listed for Johnny, and it doesn’t survive;

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Johnny Tillotson, Freddy Cannon, The Karl Denver Trio, The Eric Delaney Band, The Mudlarks, Don Charles, Julie Grant, Keith Fordyce (1962)

  6. 6
    crag on 13 Apr 2011 #


    Bevis Hillier, Historian, writer (1975).

  7. 7
    Victoria on 15 Aug 2011 #

    I like this a lot. Yeah it’s a bit aww-shucks (“she’s much too nice to rearrange” indeed) but appropriately its got a lot of forward momentum. Cute little piece of early 60s teen pop.

  8. 8
    lonepilgrim on 10 Mar 2014 #

    I gave this 6 on the recent poll – the various instruments clip along very economically allowing the vocals to stretch and contract over the top. The background vocalist sounds like a theremin at one point or like the shrill keyboard on ‘Runaway’, a precursor of Brian Wilson’s instrumental dynamics on ‘Good Vibrations’.

  9. 9
    chrisew71 on 28 Mar 2018 #

    Just barely works for me. Been a while since I heard it, but I recall thinking that it sounds like he’s grinning like a fool with every line.

  10. 10
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    I would agree with Tom’s 6/10 here.

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