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Hank Locklin

Lawrence Hankins Locklin was a straightforward tenor singer who enjoyed big hits with “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” and “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” in The Nashville Sound era.

Birth: February 15, 1918 - Death: March 8, 2009
Birthplace: McLellan, Florida

Locklin recalled being paid two dollars for one of his first professional gigs in a Florida roadhouse, while his expenses totaled five dollars. He fared better in 1942, with a regular stint on radio station WCOA in Pensacola. Later he was also a regular on the Big D Jamboree on KRLD-Dallas.

In 1949, Locklin joined Shreveport’s Louisiana Hayride. In that year he also scored his first Top Ten single, “The Same Sweet Girl,” for Four Star Records. “Let Me Be the One” (1953) became his first #1 hit. After signing with RCA Records, Locklin had quick success with “Why, Baby, Why” (#9, 1956), a cover of George Jones’s record, followed by a pop-country crossover original, “Geisha Girl” (#4, 1957).

Locklin’s self-penned “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” (#5, 1958) was a substantial country hit and received pop airplay as well. (Dean Martin and
Johnny Tillotson both later recorded his song.) Locklin’s 1958 follow-up was “It’s a Little More Like Heaven” (#3).

He scored his biggest success via his composition “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” (#1, 1960), which also hit #8 on the pop charts. Locklin joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1960. During nineteen years with RCA he recorded tribute albums to Eddy Arnold, Hank Williams, and Roy Acuff. In the 1970s he hosted TV shows in Houston and Dallas and was honorary mayor of McLellan, Florida, where he bought a ranch on property where he had picked cotton as a youth. Locklin lived in Brewton, Alabama, from 1984 until his death. — Walt Trott

— Adapted from the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s Encyclopedia of Country Music, published by Oxford University Press.

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