Country music songwriter TILLMAN FRANKS has lost his battle with a lengthy illness. He was 86. Franks penned country favourite HONKY-TONK MAN and also made a name for himself as a musician, promoter and manager. He began his career as a bassist with the Louisiana Hayride show favourites the BAILES BROTHERS in the 1940s and later toured with FARON YOUNG before becoming the head of the Louisiana Hayride Artist Bureau. Among the acts he later managed were SLIM WHITMAN, JOHNNY HORTON and JIMMY C NEWMAN. He co-wrote Horton's 1956 song Honky-Tonk Man, which was rerecorded as a hit by Dwight Yoakam. Franks was injured in a 1960 car crash in Texas that claimed Horton's life.