Grand Ole Opry star Hank Locklin died Sunday (March 8) at his home in Brewton, Ala., at age 91. He is best known for writing and recording the 1958 Top 10 hit, “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On.” He had been an Opry member since 1960. The family plans a private funeral and burial service.
Born Lawrence Hankins Locklin in McLellan, Fla., he began playing guitar as a child and was just a teenager when he began performing on radio station WCOA in Pensacola, Fla. A leg injury exempted him from military service during World War II, and he began writing songs and performing in bands around Mobile, Ala. Following the war, he was appearing on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport and on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas.
He enjoyed his first chart success during a five-year stint on 4 Star Records. His first charted single, “The Same Sweet Girl,” reached the Top 10 in 1949, and his first No. 1 single came on 4 Star in 1953 with “Let Me Be the One.” It spent three weeks at the top of the country chart.
Later signing to RCA Records, Locklin recorded two Top 10 hits before releasing, “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On,” which peaked at No. 5. In 1960, he spent 14 weeks at No. 1 with “Please Help Me, I’m Falling,” a song written by Don Robertson and Hal Blair. Locklin continued recording hits through the ’60s and remained on the RCA roster through the mid-70s.
“Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” became a country music standard and was recorded by numerous artists, including Dwight Yoakam, Dolly Parton, Dean Martin and others.
Locklin is also credited with being a pioneer in recording concept albums, including A Tribute to Roy Acuff, King of Country Music in 1962 and Irish Songs, Country Style in 1964. The latter helped lead to his success as a touring artist in England and Ireland during the ’70s.
In 2001, Locklin recorded Generations in Song, an album that featured Parton and Vince Gill, among others. He recently released his 65th album, By the Grace of God, a collection of gospel songs.