A week that ironically commemorated the 46th anniversary of one of the darkest weeks in Opry history following the deaths of four members (three in a plane crash, one on the way to the funeral of one of the crash victims) has been rough on the Grand Ole Opry. Ernie Ashworth died Monday, and Barbara Mandrell's father passed away on Thursday. On Sunday the Opry suffered its third loss in six days.
Hank Locklin, the country performer who began his career in his early 40s with the #1 hit "Let Me Be the One" and scored one of the biggest hits of the entire decade of the 1960s with "Please Help Me, I'm Falling," passed away at his home in Alabama on Sunday (3/8). No cause of death was immediately given.
Locklin's hit list is quite extensive: "Let Me Be the One," "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On," "Geisha Girl," "Happy Journey," "Happy Birthday to Me," and "The Country Hall of Fame" were all top ten hits.
That last song brings to mind the fact that Locklin should have been enshrined there years ago. After all, when an artist does a song that stays at #1 for one-fourth of an entire year on the country charts (finally becoming the #3 song of the 1960s) and makes the top ten of the POP charts (and spawned an answer song), he has accomplished something. He also had hits across four decades and released a total of 65 albums.
Locklin was the oldest member of the Grand Ole Opry. That title now falls to Little Jimmy Dickens, who just turned 88. Dickens is back on the Opry performing following successful surgery and rehab following a subdural hematoma in January.
A sad, fond farewell to the great Hank Locklin. He was 91.