Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State
For Immediate Release
March 29, 2007
Contact: Laura Stone
Division of Cultural Affairs
Legendary Country Artist Hank Locklin’s inducted into the 2007 Florida Artists Hall of Fame
Tallahassee, FLORIDA –
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Governor Charlie Crist and Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning officially inducted country music artist and Grand Ole Opry star, Lawrence Hankins “Hank” Locklin, into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. The ceremony was witnessed by over 300 people as part of Florida’s Heritage Month celebration.
One of pop and country music’s greatest voices, Florida native 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 over 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.
After World War II ended, Hank moved to Texas and his career started taking off. Hank scored his first Top 10 song in 1949 with “The Same Sweet Girl.” Four years later, he had a No. 1 with “Let Me Be the One,” and a recording contract with RCA Victor followed.
The next few years brought Top 10s with “Why, Baby Why,” “Fraulein” and “A Good Woman’s Love,” a Top 5 with “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On,” which he wrote, and a string of Top 2 hits. In 1960, the remarkable success of “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” earned him membership in the Grand Ole Opry. That song also introduced the slip-note piano style to pop and country music through legendary pianist Floyd Cramer and was a major factor in creating the “Nashville Sound.” The slip-note piano style was synonymous with Hank’s recordings from that point forward and was considered his signature sound.
Other hits followed throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, including “Followed Closely by My Teardrops,” “The Country Hall of Fame,” and his Top 20 cover smash of Bing Crosby’s “Where The Blue Of The Night, Meets The Gold Of The Day.” Hank is also credited with taking country music to unprecedented heights of popularity with international audiences throughout the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. In all, Hank Locklin has sold more than 15 million albums and received numerous industry awards from The Grand Ole Opry, Broadcast Music, Inc., The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Cashbox, Billboard, and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
Long a favorite with country music audiences, Hank returned to the studio in 2001 to record Generations in Song, which featured long-time colleagues Dolly Parton and Vince Gill (both of whom cite Hank as an influence). Recently, Hank released his 65thalbum, a gospel album entitled By The Grace of God, 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 remains a powerful singer whose voice continues to win new fans.
Established by the Florida Legislature in 1986, the Florida Artists Hall of Fame recognizes persons, living or deceased, who have made significant contributions to the arts in Florida either as performing or practicing artists in individual disciplines. The individual may be a native of the state or one who adopted Florida as home. Recipients of this award demonstrate the diversity of artistic accomplishment that comprises the rich cultural tapestry of this state.