Lawrence Hankins 'Hank' Locklin (February 15, 1918 - March 8, 2009) was an American country music singer-songwriter. A member of the Grand Ole Opry for nearly 50 years, Locklin had a long recording career with RCA Victor, and scored big hits with "Please Help Me, I'm Falling", "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On" and "Geisha Girl" from 1957-1960. His singles charted from 1949-1971.
Locklin was one of country music's early honky tonk singers. He first recorded for Royalty, a small label in northeast Texas, but soon moved to 4 Star Records, a regional country music label, before signing a long contract with RCA Victor. He had an estimated 15 million record sales worldwide and his songs were recorded by many other artists, including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Roy Rogers, Dwight Yoakam and Dean Martin. He regularly appeared on the Grand Ole Opry beginning in 1960, making his final appearance in 2007.
Locklin had 70 chart singles, including six No. 1s on Billboard's country chart. Locklin's biggest hits included "Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On", "Geisha Girl" and his signature "Please Help Me, I'm Falling", which went to number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart. Billboard's 100th anniversary issue listed it as the second most successful country single of the rock and roll era. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. Other hits for Locklin included "Happy Journey" (1961), "Happy Birthday To Me" (1962) and "The Country Hall Of Fame" (1968).
Background information From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born in McLellan in the Florida Panhandle, Locklin grew up working in the cotton fields to supplement his family’s low income. He began playing the guitar at the age of nine after being seriously injured by a school bus.
His first marriage to Willa Jean Murphy ended in divorce. In 1970 he married Anita Crooks of Brewton, Alabama. He had a son and four daughters, 12 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and a few close great nieces and nephews.
In the 1960s, Locklin built a ranch house called The Singing L in the field in McClellan where he had picked cotton as a boy. He was later made the honorary mayor of the town.
Locklin had a strong following in Europe, especially in Ireland. His popularity was such that in 1963 he recorded an album called Irish Songs Country Style. He has a fan club in Langeli, Bjerkreim, Norway. The obituary in The Times described Locklin as "the last remaining link between country music’s hillbilly roots and the lusher, modern pop sound of Nashville."
In 2006, Locklin appeared on the PBS special, Country Pop Legends in which he performed "Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On," and "Please Help Me I'm Falling". Until his death at the age of 91 in 2009, he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry. Hank had recently released his 65th album, By the Grace of God, a collection of gospel songs.
He moved to Brewton, where he remained throughout his later years, and died there at home in the early morning on March 8, 2009.
In 2007 he was inducted to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.