March 10, 2009

FAREWELL, THE 4TH HANK:

Hank Locklin, Country Singer, Is Dead at 91 (DOUGLAS MARTIN, 3/10/09, NY Times)

At his death, Mr. Locklin was the oldest member of the Grand Ole Opry, where he performed for nearly a half-century. He recorded 65 albums and had 70 charted singles, including six No. 1 songs on the Billboard country chart. He sold 15 million records worldwide. His songs were recorded by hundreds of artists, including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Roy Rogers.

With a style influenced by Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb, he had one of his first hits in 1949 for 4 Star Records with “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On,” which he both wrote and recorded. He took the title line from a song written by Claude Casey and had a much bigger hit when he re-recorded it for RCA in 1958.

Mr. Locklin’s 1960 hit “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” was Billboard’s No. 1 country song for 14 weeks and spent 36 weeks on the country charts. It also climbed to No. 8 on the pop charts. Other hits included “Geisha Girl,” “Let Me Be the One,” “It’s a Little More Like Heaven,” “Happy Birthday to Me” and “Country Hall of Fame.”

Mr. Locklin was one of the first to travel the globe playing country music and is particularly credited with helping popularize the genre in Ireland.

For “ Please Help Me, I’m Falling,” the pianist Floyd Cramer developed his celebrated version of the “slip-note” piano style, in which the piano seems almost to slur notes. That style became Mr. Locklin’s signature backup sound in many more recordings.

Lawrence Hankins Locklin was born on Feb. 15, 1918, just south of Brewton in McLellan, Fla., a village so small it is not shown on most maps. Hoedowns with guitars and fiddles were a common occurrence in the family living room.

He was hit by a school bus when he was 9. “It almost mashed me flatter than a fritter,” he told the Birmingham paper.

During his recuperation, he learned to play the guitar.



Posted by Orrin Judd at March 10, 2009 10:08 AM
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