Ferlin Husky sings “Wings of a Dove”
Born in Missouri on December 3, 1925, Ferlin Eugene Husky grew up the son of a sharecropper on a small farm. Ferlin learned to play guitar at an early age from one of his uncles. During World War II, he served in the US Merchant Navy. His parents had vastly different opinions as to what career path Ferlin should take after his discharge. Despite his mother wanting him to be a preacher and his father hoping he would choose farming, Ferlin got a job as a disc jockey on KXLW radio in St. Louis. It was this position that gradually earned Husky performance time on the station.
Husky moved to California in the late 40s where he appeared on the “Los Angeles Hometown Jamboree” and played at several clubs in the Bakersfield area. Ferlin Husky felt that his real name was unsuitable for this new line of work and began to call himself “Tex Preston,” which later evolved to “Terry Preston.” Shortly thereafter he developed an alter ego to incorporate into his act– a philosophical country character whom he named “Simon Crum.”
Husky recorded for Capitol Records in the early 50s where he worked with Tennessee Ernie Ford. His first country number-one hit was “A Dear John Letter,” which he recorded with Jean Shepard. This track also reached number four on the US pop charts. Following the release of “Hank’s Song” (a tribute to Hank Williams) and its success, Husky finally dropped the name “Terry Preston.”
Husky was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1957–the same year his song “Gone” earned a the top spot on the charts and sold over a million copies sold. Ironically, he had originally recorded it under the name “Terry Preston” five years earlier, and released it with no success.
Ferlin became a popular entertainer on many network television shows, such as the Arthur Godfrey Show (host) and Kraft TV Theatre (actor). He maintained his country music popularity through his character “Simon Crum” even though he didn’t always sing country material. Ferlin was able to successfully present austere comedy all while demonstrating great talent in impersonating other country stars. He also dabbled in acting by appearing in several films including “Mr. Rock & Roll,” and “Country Music Holiday.”
In 1957, Husky recorded a pop album, Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, as well as several rock and roll singles including, “Wang Dang Do.” From the 60s to the mid-70s, he toured with his band, The Hush Puppies, and had regular country chart entries such as “Once,” and “Just For You.” He moved to ABC Records in 1973 and continued to appear on the country charts throughout that partnership.
Ferlin was married six times and is survived by nine children, one of which is named Terry Preston. He continued to perform and record and passed away on March 17, 2011. More information on Ferlin Husky can be found at his website, http://www.ferlinhusky.com/about.html.