Place: McLellan, Florida
Ancestor Captained Ship to Maine in 1700's
of McLellan - Honorary Title
Help Me I'm Falling: Billboard's First 100 Years Number 2 Single
Send Me The Pillow You Dream On: BMI Million Player
HANK LOCKLIN BIOGRAPHY 10/2006
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
LOCKLIN BIOGRAPHY 2/2001
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.
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.
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:
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
which would become so popular in recording sessions and launch Cramer'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.
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
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
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.
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.