Ferlin Husky

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Ferlin Husky
Husky in 1962
Husky in 1962
Background information
Birth nameFerlin Eugene Husky
Also known asTerry Preston, Simon Crum
Born(1925-12-03)December 3, 1925
Cantwell, Missouri, U.S.
DiedMarch 17, 2011(2011-03-17) (aged 85)
Westmoreland, Tennessee, U.S.
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active1945–2011
LabelsCapitol Records (1953–1972)
ABC Records (1972–1975)

Ferlin Eugene Husky (December 3, 1925 – March 17, 2011)[1] was an American country music singer who was equally adept at honky-tonk, ballads, spoken recitations, rockabilly and pop tunes.

From 1948 to 1953, he recorded under the stage name Terry Preston.[2] He also created and recorded as the comic, outspoken hayseed character, Simon Crum. In the 1950s and '60s, his hits included "Gone" and "Wings of a Dove", each reaching number one on the country charts. Between 1953 and 1975, he had 11 top 10 hits, two dozen top 20 hits and a total of 50 songs in Billboard magazine's top 100 country songs. His versatility and matinee-idol looks propelled a seven-decade entertainment career.[2] In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Ferlin Husky was born in Gumbo, Missouri, an unincorporated community in northwestern St. Francois County, Missouri.[3] His mother named him Furland, but his name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Husky grew up on a farm near Flat River and attended school in Irondale. An uncle taught him to play the guitar. After dropping out of high school, he moved to St. Louis, where he worked as a truck driver and steel mill worker while performing in honky tonks at night.[2]

During World War II, Husky served in the United States Merchant Marine for five years, entertaining troops on transport ships. His website states that his ship participated in the D-Day invasion of Cherbourg.[citation needed] His Simon Crum character evolved from stories he told during those years about a Missouri neighbor named Simon Crump.[2]

After the war, Husky continued to develop his Simon Crum character while working as a disc jockey in Missouri and then in Bakersfield, California, into the late 1940s.[4] He began using the stage name Terry Preston at the suggestion of Smiley Burnette who claimed Ferlin Husky would never work on a marquee.[2] He signed with Capitol Records in 1953 as a honky-tonk singer under the guidance of Cliffie Stone, who also managed Tennessee Ernie Ford.[4] When at Capitol, he returned to using his given name although for his first few singles his last named was listed as "Huskey".[4] A few singles failed before "A Dear John Letter" with Jean Shepard became a number one hit that year topping Billboard magazine's country charts and reaching number four on its pop charts.[4] They followed it up that year with "Forgive Me John" which reached number four on Billboard's Most Played Country and Western Juke Boxes chart and number 24 on its Hot 100 chart turning the unknown singers into star performers in the United States.[4] In 1955, Husky had a solo hit with "I Feel Better All Over (More Than Anywheres Else)" / "Little Tom". As Simon Crum, he signed a separate contract with Capitol Records and began releasing records, the biggest of which was 1959's "Country Music is Here to Stay" reaching number two for three weeks.[citation needed]

In the late 1950s, Husky had a long string of hits, including the number one "Gone" which stayed at the top of the charts for ten weeks in 1957 and was on the charts for a total of 27 weeks. (Husky had previously recorded the song in 1952 as Terry Preston, but the earlier version lacked the newly emerging Nashville sound production of Bradley Studios,[5] which included strings and backup singers).[4] "Gone" was a crossover success, also reaching number four on the pop music chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[6] The song's popularity led to a stint as a summer replacement host in 1957 on CBS-TV's Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts.[2]

He began acting, appearing on the Kraft Television Theatre, and played himself in the 1957 film Mister Rock and Roll[4] (his website states he had bit parts in 18 films, including with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Mamie Van Doren). He received sole top billing in a 1971 low budget, back country film with the film's opening credits stating, "Ferlin Husky in Swamp Girl".

in 1960, Bob Ferguson's "Wings of a Dove" became his biggest hit, topping the country charts for 10 weeks and reaching number 12 on the pop chart.[4] Husky was also known for his ability to imitate other popular country singers, including Tennessee Ernie Ford and Kitty Wells.[4]

Although he did not have more chart-toppers, he charted three dozen hits between 1961 and 1972, with the biggest being "Once" (1967) and "Just for You" (1968). In late 1972, after over 20 years with Capitol, Husky signed with ABC Records, where he scored several top 40 hits into 1975,[4] with the biggest being the top 20 "Rosie Cries a Lot" (1973). Husky briefly retired in 1977 following heart surgery, then resumed touring.[4] He remained a popular concert draw, performing at the Grand Ole Opry and elsewhere. He was married four times and for the last six years of his life lived with his long-time love, Leona Williams (former wife of Merle Haggard).

Husky suffered from cardiopathy for many years and was hospitalized several times beginning in the late 1970s, including for heart surgery in 2005 and for blood clots in his legs in 2007. He was admitted to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, on April 19, 2009, with congestive heart failure and pneumonia. On July 15, 2009, his spokesman said he was recuperating at home after being released from a Nashville hospital.

On February 23, 2010, the Country Music Association announced his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was heralded for his vocal and comic prowess—and "all around showmanship"—that left a legacy as "one of the best entertainers country music has ever produced".

On January 16, 2011, he was honored at West St. Francois County High School in Leadwood, Missouri, where local singers and the high-school choir sang some of his hits. Husky also donated several items of memorabilia, including his Country Music Hall of Fame award, to the city of Leadwood which are permanently stored at the high school.

On March 8, 2011, Husky was hospitalized again after several days after not feeling well. By the weekend, he had improved and moved out of the coronary care unit. On March 17, he died of congestive heart failure at his daughter's home in Westmoreland, Tennessee.[7]

He was buried next to his son, Danny Louis Husky, in Hendersonville Memory Gardens in Hendersonville, Tennessee.


Ferlin Husky was one of the first country singers to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his recordings. It's at 6675 Hollywood Blvd.

The street that runs through the city park in Leadwood, Missouri, is named for him.[8]



Year Album US Country Label
1956 Songs of the Home and Heart Capitol
1957 Boulevard of Broken Dreams
1958 Sittin' on a Rainbow
1959 Born to Lose
Ferlin Husky King
1960 Easy Livin'
Ferlin's Favorites Capitol
1961 Walkin' and a Hummin'
Memories of Home
1962 Some of My Favorites
1963 The Unpredictable Simon Crum
The Heart and Soul of Ferlin Husky
The Hits of Ferlin Husky
1964 By Request 20
1965 True True Lovin'
1966 Ferlin Husky Sings the Songs of Music City, U.S.A. 20
I Could Sing All Night 18
1967 What Am I Gonna Do Now? 22
Christmas All Year Long
1968 Just for You (and the Hush Puppies) 19
Where No One Stands Alone
White Fences and Evergreen Trees 44
1969 The Best of Ferlin Husky 42
That's Why I Love You So Much 24
1970 Your Love Is Heavenly Sunshine 25
Green Green Grass of Home
Your Sweet Love Lifted Me 31
1971 One More Time 35
1972 Just Plain Lonely 39
1973 True True Lovin' ABC
Sweet Honky Tonk
1974 Freckles and Polliwog Days 44
Champagne Ladies and Blue Ribbon Babies 43
1975 Foster and Rice Songbook


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US CAN Country
1953 "A Dear John Letter" (w/ Jean Shepard) 1 4 singles only
"Forgive Me, John" (w/ Jean Shepard) 4 24
1955 "I Feel Better All Over (More Than Anywhere's Else)" 6
"Little Tom" 7
"Cuzz Yore So Sweet" (as Simon Crum) 5 The Unpredictable Simon Crum
"I'll Baby Sit with You" (w/ His Hush Puppies) 14 single only
1957 "Gone" 1 4 "Gone"
"A Fallen Star" 8 47
"Prize Possession" 12
1958 "I Will" 23
"Country Music is Here to Stay" (as Simon Crum) 2 The Unpredictable Simon Crum
1959 "My Reason for Living" 14 "Gone"
"Draggin' the River" 11 singles only
"Black Sheep" 21
1960 "Wings of a Dove" 1 12
1961 "Willow Tree" 23
1962 "The Waltz You Saved for Me" 13 94 Some of My Favorites
"Somebody Save Me" 16 singles only
"Stand Up" 28
"It Was You" 21
1964 "Timber I'm Falling" 13 By Request
1965 "True True Lovin'" 46 True True Lovin'
"Money Greases the Wheels" 48 Ferlin Husky Sings the Songs of Music City, U.S.A.
1966 "I Could Sing All Night" 27 I Could Sing All Night
"I Hear Little Rock Calling" 17
1967 "Once" 4
"What Am I Gonna Do Now" 37 What Am I Gonna Do Now?
"You Pushed Me Too Far" 14 Just for You
1968 "Just for You" 4
"I Promised You the World" 26 13 single only
"White Fences and Evergreen Trees" 25 18 White Fences and Evergreen Trees
1969 "Flat River, MO" 33
"That's Why I Love You So Much" 16 11 That's Why I Love You So Much
"Every Step of the Way" 21 23 Your Love Is Heavenly Sunshine
1970 "Heavenly Sunshine" 11 6
"Your Sweet Love Lifted Me" 45 One More Time
1971 "Sweet Misery" 14 23
"One More Time" 28 31
"Open Up the Book (And Take a Look)" 45 single only
1972 "Just Plain Lonely" 39 Just Plain Lonely
"How Could You Be Anything But Love" 53 single only
1973 "True True Lovin'" (re-recording) 35 29 True True Lovin'
"Between Me and Blue" 46 75 Sweet Honky Tonk
"Baby's Blue" 75
"Rosie Cries a Lot" 17 33
1974 "Freckles and Polliwog Days" 26 36 Freckles and Polliwog Days
"A Room for a Boy...Never Used" 60
1975 "Champagne Ladies and Blue Ribbon Babies" 34 Champagne Ladies and Blue Ribbon Babies
"Burning" 37
"An Old Memory (Got in My Eye)" 90 Foster and Rice Songbook
"She's Not Yours Anymore" 74


  1. ^ "Velvet-Voiced Ferlin Husky Dies at 85" New York Times. Retrieved 2014-7-16.
  2. ^ a b c d e f McArdle, Terence "County music showman had comic alter ego" (March 18, 2011) The Washington Post, p. B7
  3. ^ "Ferlin Husky Biography" Archived 2016-02-17 at the Wayback Machine, FerlinHusky.com; retrieved July 16, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Fifties Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 177. ISBN 0-85112-732-0.
  5. ^ Snoddy, Glen (1972). "Nashville, The Recording Center" (PDF). Country Music Who's Who. Record World. Retrieved 10 May 2024.
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London, UK: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 92. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. ^ Cooper, Peter "Ferlin Husky dies in Tennessee at 85" (March 17, 2011) The Tennessean
  8. ^ Cooper, Peter (October 18, 2010). "Ferlin Husky honored with renamed Missouri street". The Tennessean. Retrieved March 21, 2011.


  • Roy, Don. (1998). "Ferlin Husky". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 252. (Birth year listed as 1927).

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