b. c. 1933, Youngstown, Ohio, USA. Although he sang in children’s shows, Zill was set on a career as a boxer and fought several bouts while serving in the US Marine Corps. He later fought some professional bouts but then quit boxing in 1958 to begin a career as a club owner. For about a quarter of a century he ran The Boathouse in Columbus, Ohio. Sometimes serving behind the bar at the club, he also sang for customers with a backing group. This brought him the soubriquet, ‘the Singing Bartender’. Persuaded by promoter Pat Nelson to go to Nashville and make a record, Zill reluctantly did so. The resulting release of his own composition, 1961’s ‘Pick Me Up On Your Way Down’ (not the same song as the previous hit by Charlie Walker), made inroads into the pop charts.
Following up on this success, Zill then recorded more of his own compositions, including ‘The Key’s In The Mailbox’, which was another big seller, and, best of all by a considerable margin, 1965’s ‘Heartaches By The Number’. This song spent more than half a year in the charts and Zill toured on the heels of this success. Although his billing placed him in country, he always insisted that he was a pop singer and his repertoire is filled with popular ballads.