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). 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 such as Sarah Locklin. 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, and 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. In 2007 he was inducted to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. He moved to Brewton Alabama, where he remained throughout his later years, and died there at home in the early morning on March 8, 2009. Read more on Last.fm.
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