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Hank Locklin Biography

Last updated: 03/24/2010 12:00:00 PM

Birthday: February 15
Birth Place: McLellan, Florida
Scottish Ancestor Captained Ship to Maine in 1700's
Also Irish
Mayor of McLellan - Honorary Title
Please Help Me I'm Falling: Billboard's First 100 Years Number 2 Single
Send Me The Pillow You Dream On: BMI Million Player

Longevity tells the success of the Grand Ole Opry's Hank Locklin. Whether you listened to him on Texas radio in the 1940s, on RCA Records during country music's golden age of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, or even today on the Opry or television commercials, Locklin's legendary tenor voice rings sharp and clear.

Locklin reached country music's zenith with such standards as Please Help Me I'm Falling and a song he wrote, Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On. They were two of the most popular hits of that country music golden age along with many of his other nuggets like Geisha Girl, Let Me Be The One and Country Hall of Fame.

But the measure of Locklin's stature in country music covers more than simply mega hits. The ageless performer has been enjoyed by
six decades of music followers. Consider this:

--His popularity has no boundaries, ranging across the United States and overseas to Europe, England, Japan, Germany and Holland.

--His recordings of the 1950s and 60s helped popularize "The Nashville Sound" as country music refined itself with full vocal and instrumental
backing. When you listen to the opening notes of his 1960 Please Help Me I'm Falling, you're listening to pianist Floyd Cramer play the slip note
piano style which would become so popular in recording sessions and launch Cramer's solo career.

--Locklin's overwhelming popularity in Ireland since the 1950s brought country music to new heights over there. It resulted in his recording an
RCA album, Irish Songs Country Style, in 1963.

--Those television infomercials, selling multi-set compact discs of country classics, feature his hits.

--Since he wrote Send Me The Pillow in 1949, the Locklin standard has been recorded by Dean Martin, Johnny Tillotson, Roy Rogers, Dolly Parton and
Dwight Yoakam among others.

--His recording of Please Help Me I'm Falling is in the Clint Eastwood movie A Perfect World.

--And if you happened to be at the Grand Ole Opry on a Saturday night back in 1995, you witnessed a magical Opry moment as superstar Vince Gill came on stage to harmonize with Locklin on The Pillow.

"The Lord gave me a good voice and I can still sing," said Locklin. "I am blessed. I wrote a song that became a huge hit and (record producer) Chet Atkins gave me another big song (Please Help Me) to record. I've recorded with the best musicians in the business and have called many of country music's biggest stars my friends."

His music education took its turn following a childhood accident. At age nine Locklin was bedridden after getting hit by a school bus. He passed the time learning to play guitar. He had already begun singing at the local church where his mother, Hattie, played piano.

In the 1930s, Locklin made his radio debut singing on WCOA radio in Pensacola, strumming his guitar for instrumental backing. In the 1940s he would perform with a band in Mobile, Alabama at the histler Community House. Locklin would eventually work his way through Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas where things began to break for him.

In 1948 Locklin and his band, The Rocky Mountain Playboys, landed a morning radio show on KLEE in Houston, Texas. He made his first record on the Gold Star label that year before joining Four Star Records in 1949 for a six-year run. The Four Star years saw Locklin perfect his songwriting with Send Me The Pillow You Dream On , Same Sweet Girl, The Last Look At Mother and Born To Ramble. He also enjoyed Four-Star success with Let Me Be The One and Knocking At Your Door.

Locklin's career took a gigantic step when he signed with RCA Records in 1955 . In 1957 one recording session produced two Locklin chestnuts: the ever-popular Geisha Girl which spent 39 weeks on the Billboard country charts and peaked at #4 and a remake of Send Me The Pillow which spent 35 weeks on the Billboard country charts and topped out at #5. .

In 1960 Locklin rocketed across the country and pop charts with Please Help Me I'm Falling. Recorded in January of that year in Nashville, the song spent 14 weeks as Billboard's #1 song and a total of 36 weeks on the country charts. The song also climbed to #8 on the Billboard pop charts. Billboard's 100th Anniversary issue listed it as the #2 most successful country single of the rock and roll era. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award and won the Cash Box Award for Best Country Song of 1960. That same year Locklin became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Locklin's other RCA hits during his 19-year run at the record label ('55-1974) include It's A Little More Like Heaven, Happy Birthday To Me, From Here To There To You, Happy Journey, We're Gonna Go Fishing and Country Hall of Fame. His RCA albums include Hank Locklin Sings Hank Williams (which received a NARAS nomination for Best Country Western Vocal Performance in 1964); Please Help Me I'm Falling; Happy Journey; Country Hall of Fame; Hank Locklin, Danny Davis and The Nashville Brass; The Best of Hank Locklin; Hank Locklin Sings Roy Acuff; Irish Songs Country Style; The Mayor of McClellan and Hank Locklin-The First Fifteen Years.

Locklin later recorded for MGM Records. His works at Four Star and the first half of his RCA years have been re-issued and documented in two CD box sets issued by Bear Family Records. Today his voice and sound endure. And Hank Locklin is still singing.