Hank Locklin Interview

He’s sold more than 15 million albums and received numerous awards from the Grand Ole Opry, BMI, ASCAP, Cashbox, Billboard and NARAS.

He’s influenced Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers, Dwight Yoakam, Bob Seger, Merle Haggard, George Jones and George Strait.

His song, “Please Help Me I’m Falling”, spent 14 weeks at Number One, 30 weeks in the Top Ten in 1960, and a total of 36 weeks in the country charts.

Billboard’s 100 th Anniversary issue listed it as the Number Two most successful country single of the Rock and Roll era. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award and won the Cash Box Award for Best Country Song of 1960.

A string of hits followed: “Send Me The Pillow You Dream On”, which he wrote, “It’s A Little More Like Heaven”, “Geisha Girl”, “Frauelin”, “Why Baby Why”, and “Blue Grass Skirt”.

We are talking of course about the one, the only Hank Locklin.

Q – Mr. Locklin, it’s a real honor to talk to you.
A – It’s great to know that I’m gonna get to talk to you. I’ve heard about you, you know.

Q – What have you heard?
A – Not anything that can’t be cured. (Laughs).

Q – (Laughs).
A – It’s so good to hear from you brother. I appreciate what you’re gonna do. The Good Lord has been with us.

Q – I saw you on that P.B.S. Special. You can still sing. You still have your voice. For a lot of singers who have been around awhile that’s not the case. I take it you’re not a smoker.
A – I don’t smoke. I never have.

Q – How did Chet Atkins know that “Please Help Me I’m Falling” was the song for you?
A – The people in California wrote you. That’s how it came in, in Nashville, where I was staying at the time. He’s done quite well, you know. Jim Reeves turned it down. (Laughs). I turned down ‘Four Walls’. This song I think is really one of the greats. I’m not bragging on myself. I know the people who tell me about it.

Q – They don’t write songs like that anymore. It’s a simple song, but you never get tired of listening to it.
A – I’m glad you said that, ‘cause that’s exactly why a song like that is gonna go.

Q – Did anyone else ever cover “Please Help Me I’m Falling” and have a hit with it?
A – Janie Frickie, but nothing much happened with it.

Q – Did the co-writer of that song, Don Robertson, ever tell you how he came to write that song or how long it took him to write it?
A – I come back from Texas and then I was in Florida and then I went to Nashville. Chet played it for me. He had it. It had a snip note on it. Don Robertson played it on the demo he sent. That was a long time ago-----‘fore you and me was born. (Laughs). It must not have took him very long, ‘cause I sang another song he had wrote.

Q – How about the song you wrote, “Send Me The Pillow You Dream On”-----how long did that take you to write?
A – During the War and everything I went out to Texas. Two or three guys went out there with me. Along about that time is whenever I had ‘Help Me I’m Fallin’. It’s just one of those things how it happened.

Q – Did you make personal appearances behind your hits?
A – Oh, yeah, ‘live’. I went to Japan, Germany, Ireland, Holland.

Q – Where did you perform over there-----in theatres?
A – Yeah, theatres. I did quite well. They loved me.

Q – Did you know Patsy Cline?
A – Yeah. I met Patsy. She was a lovely lady, and could sing. It was a terrible way that it happened (the plane crash that took Patsy Cline’s life).

Q – In your travels, did you ever come into contact with Elvis and Col. Parker?
A – Yes. We was on the same show, Elvis and me, in Texas. You know, it was just one of those things that kept moving. I was kind of getting into it, you know.

Q – You were getting into rockabilly? Is that what you’re saying?
A – (Laughs). Not much of that.

Q – Did you ever meet Buddy Holly?
A – I may have. I’m not sure. I met a lot of people. Did he work with Red Foley?

Q – I don’t know.
A – I worked with Red Foley.

Q – When you were a kid, you were hit by a school bus. While you were recovering from your injuries you picked up the guitar. Would you have picked up the guitar anyway?
A – Gosh, I don’t know whether I would or not. I forget how old I was. That’s way before I went out to Texas. It happened down in Florida. My daddy was a farmer. Anyway, that’s kind of how I got started. My mama played guitar, and dad-----he played the fiddle. But, we didn’t go out and do anything then. That was where I was born.

Q – Did your parents approve of your interest in music?
A – Oh, yes. Mama, she played and she was a Christian. I just had one thing after another that I wanted to do-----and so I did.

Q – Do you like the country music you hear today?
A – Yeah. I like some of it.

Official website: www.hanklocklin.com
© Gary James All Rights Reserved