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


One of country’s greatest tenors, Hank Locklin scored one of the biggest hits of the music’s golden era with “Please Help Me, I’m Falling,” which spent a remarkable 14 weeks at No. 1 and 30 weeks in the Top 10 in 1960.  Born Lawrence Hankins Locklin into a family that usually reared doctors, Hank was picking guitar for amateur contests in Milton, Florida, by age 10. In his teens he was a featured performer on Pensacola radio station WCOA.  For the next several years, he played with a variety of groups through the South and worked at various jobs in Florida, including farmer, ribbon mill hanker, and shipyard worker.

After World War II ended, his career started taking off, and he appeared on Shreveport’s Louisiana Hayride and the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas. He recorded briefly for Decca, and after meeting producer Bill McCall, Hank recorded for McCall’s Four Star Records for five years.  Hank scored his first Top 10 song in 1949 with “The Same Sweet Girls.” Four years later, he had a No. 1 with “Let Me Be the One,” and a recording contract with RCA Victor followed.

The next year started a string of hit singles, with “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On,” which he wrote, “It’s a Little More Like Heaven," "Geisha Girl," "Fraulein," "Why, Baby Why," and “Blue Grass Skirt.”  In 1960, the remarkable success of “Please Help Me, I’m Falling”—the song not only dominated the country chart that year, but crossed over into the Top 10 pop charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom—earned him membership in the Grand Ole Opry.  It also introduced the slip-note piano style to country music through legendary pianist Floyd Cramer and was a major factor in creating the “Nashville Sound.”  Locklin remembers, “Chet played me the demo and Don Robertson (one of the co-writers) was playing that slip-note on the piano…I told Chet if we could get Cramer to copy that style, we’d have us a hit, and we did.”  The slip-note piano style was synonymous with Hank's recordings from that point forward and considered his signature sound.

Many hits followed throughout the ’60s, including “We're Gonna Go Fishin'," "Happy Birthday To Me," "Happy Journey," "Followed Closely by My Teardrops,” “The Country Hall of Fame,” and "Where The Blue Of The Night, Meets The Gold Of The Day."  During this time, Hank pioneered the creation of concept albums in country music with releases such as Foreign Love and Irish Songs, Country Style. Hank is also credited with taking country music to unprecedented heights of popularity with International audiences throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  In all, Hank has sold more than 15 million albums and received numerous industry awards from The Grand Ole Opry, BMI, ASCAP, Cashbox, Billboard and NARAS.

Long a favorite with Opry audiences, Hank returned to the studio in 2001 to record Generations in Song. Featuring long-time colleagues such as Dolly Parton and Jeannie Seely, newer friends and admirers like Vince Gill (who cites Hank as an influence) and Jett Williams.  Recently, Hank recorded his 65th album, a gospel album, with an award winning cast of artists such as The Oak Ridge Boys, The Jordanaires, Gold City and Jeff & Sheri Easter, confirming that Hank Locklin continues to be, as always, a powerful singer whose voice continues to win new fans.


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.


Remember: It is a mark of distinction to have a Hank Locklin record in your home!  © 2001 ~ All rights reserved.