Grand Ole Opry Star Hank Locklin Dies at 91
The smooth voice behind sweet love songs like 'Please Help Me I'm Falling' and 'Why, Baby, Why' has died at age 91. Hank Locklin was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 49 years. In the late 1950s, he was a pioneer of the Nashville Sound, a movement that gave country music more of a pop crossover appeal.
Locklin's 'Please Help Me I'm Falling' was listed by Billboard as the second most successful country single of the Rock 'N Roll era. Other hits include 'Happy Journey,' 'Happy Birthday to Me,' 'Let Me Be the One' and 'Send Me the Pillow You Dream On.' Locklin kept making music up until his death. He recently released his 65th album, 'By the Grace of God.'
Locklin was born in McLellan, Fla., the youngest of four children. His interest in music came at age 9, after he was hit by a school bus and was forced to stay home to recover from his injuries. He started playing guitar while bedridden and kept playing music through his school years, eventually winning a talent contest that led to local radio gigs.
The budding singer played in two groups -- the Four Leaf Clover Boys and the Rocky Mountain Boys -- before going solo. Locklin's big break came in 1953 with the No. 1 country hit, 'Let Me Be the One.'
The cause of Locklin's death is not known. He was home in Brewton, Ala., when he passed away on Sunday.