Monday, October 10th, 2011
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List
He’s best known for his handful of big hits for RCA in the late fifties and early sixties, but Hank Locklin’s career stretched more than a decade in both directions.
A leg injury at the age of eight was the first significant event in his musical career, as he picked up the guitar during his recovery and its lingering effects later exempted him from service in World War II. While he didn’t finish high school, he did win a talent contest at the age of eighteen, which led to a spot on local radio stations in panhandle Florida and the surrounding states.
During the war, he played in bands in Alabama, and was soon a guitarist in Jimmy Swan’s band. He formed the Rocky Mountain Boys in 1947, and their popularity on the radio led to a series of independent and regional recording contracts. When they didn’t find success, Locklin went solo, and spent the early fifties on the Four Star label, where he enjoyed his first #1 hit in 1953, “Let Me Be the One.”
Locklin’s career skyrocketed when he joined RCA in 1955, under the guidance of producer Chet Atkins. Simple production was used to showcase Locklin’s distinctive tenor, and he became a mainstay on country radio for many years. His career reached its peak with “Please Help Me, I”m Falling”, a 1960 hit that has since become a country music standard.
A series of concept albums followed, the most notable being a collection of Irish songs done in a country style. He immortalized many of his greatest influences, including Ernest Tubb, in his 1968 hit “The Country Hall of Fame.” When the radio hits faded, life on the road remained, and his popularity abroad led to tours of Europe. He was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry since 1960, and on the eve of his death at age 91, he was that venerable institution’s oldest living member.
- The Same Sweet Girl, 1948
- Let Me Be the One, 1953
- Geisha Girl, 1957
- Send Me the Pillow You Dream On, 1958
- Please Help Me, I’m Falling, 1960
- The Country Hall of Fame, 1968
- Please Help Me, I’m Falling, 1960
- Ways of Life, 1963
- Irish Songs, Country Style, 1964
- My Kind of Country Music, 1965
- Nashville Women, 1967
- Country Hall of Fame, 1968
Next: #79. Brad Paisley
Previous: #80. The Everly Brothers
100 Greatest Men: The Complete List
Monday, January 19th, 2009
Updated for 2009
While the Grammys have honored country music from the very first ceremony in 1959, they did not begin honoring by gender until 1965, when the country categories were expanded along with the other genre categories. This year, the 45th trophy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance will be awarded.
In a continuation of our Grammy Flashback series, here is a rundown of the Best Country Vocal Performance, Male category. It was first awarded in 1965, and included singles competing with albums until the Best Country Album category was added in 1995. When an album is nominated, it is in italics, and a single track is in quotation marks.
As usual, we start with a look at this year’s nominees and work our way back. Be sure to vote in My Kind of Country’s Best Male Country Vocal Performance poll and let your preference for this year’s race be known!
- Trace Adkins, “You’re Gonna Miss This”
- Jamey Johnson, “In Color”
- James Otto, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”
- Brad Paisley, “Letter to Me”
- George Strait, “Troubadour”
As with the album race, this year’s contenders for Best Male Country Vocal Performance are a combination of unrecognized veterans and promising newcomers. In fact, none of this year’s nominees have won in this category, and only one of them – Brad Paisley – has a Grammy at all.
First, the veterans. Paisley has numerous ACM and CMA victories to his credit, including two each for Male Vocalist. Although he’s been nominated for this award twice before, this is the first time he’s contended with a cut that can’t be dismissed as a novelty number. The touching self-penned “Letter to Me” is his best shot yet at taking this home.
Trace Adkins has been at this a bit longer than Paisley, but this is his first Grammy nomination. His crossover exposure from Celebrity Apprentice might help him out here, along with the fact that the song was considered strong enough by voters to earn a nomination of its own.
But the real veteran to watch out for is George Strait. After being nominated only twice for this category in the first 25 years of his career, voters have now given him three consecutive nominations. This is one of four nods he’s earned for the 2009 ceremony, and “Troubadour” is essentially the story of his epic career distilled into a radio-length song. It would be the perfect way to honor the man and his music in one fell swoop.
However, there’s a newcomer that might be a Grammy favorite already. We just haven’t found out yet. Not James Otto, of course, who is nominated for his charming romantic romp “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”, but rather, Jamey Johnson. The recent Nashville Scene critics’ poll further confirmed the depth of his support among tastemakers, and his nominations for Best Country Song and Best Country Album indicate that he’s very much on the academy’s radar. It helps that he has the most substantial track of the five, and it’s the obvious choice for traditionalists, who have little reason to split their votes in this category. If voters aren’t considering legacy when making their selections, he has a great shot at this.
- Dierks Bentley, “Long Trip Alone”
- Alan Jackson, “A Woman’s Love”
- Tim McGraw, “If You’re Reading This”
- George Strait, “Give it Away”
- Keith Urban, “Stupid Boy”
The often offbeat Grammy voters have been surprisingly mainstream in this category for the past three years, a trend best exemplified by this lineup, which was the first in more than a decade to feature only top ten radio hits. Tim McGraw and Keith Urban were the only two who had won this before, and it was Urban who emerged victorious. “Stupid Boy” was a highlight of his fourth studio album, and this was the only major award that the impressive collection would win.
- Dierks Bentley, “Every Mile a Memory”
- Vince Gill, “The Reason Why”
- George Strait, “The Seashores of Old Mexico”
- Josh Turner, “Would You Go With Me”
- Keith Urban, “Once in a Lifetime”
Vince Gill returned to win in this category for a ninth time with “The Reason Why.” Not only is he, by far, the most honored artist in this category, his wins here account for nine of the nineteen Grammys currently on his mantle.
- George Jones, “Funny How Time Slips Away”
- Toby Keith, “As Good As I Once Was”
- Delbert McClinton, “Midnight Communion”
- Willie Nelson, “Good Ol’ Boys”
- Brad Paisley, “Alcohol”
- Keith Urban, “You’ll Think of Me”
Urban’s biggest and probably best hit launched his second album to triple platinum and established him as a crossover artist. He gave a killer performance of the song on the show. Toby Keith was a first-time nominee here, and while he publicly groused that the Grammys put too little emphasis on commercial success in picking their nominations, he lost to the only track that was a bigger hit than his own.
Tags: Aaron Neville, Alan Jackson, Ben Colder, Billy Dean, Billy Gilman, Bob DiPiero, Bobby Bare, Bobby Lewis, Brad Paisley, Buck Owens, Carl Belew, Charley Pride, Charlie Rich, Cheryl Wheeler, Clay Hart, Clint Black, Dan Seals, David Ball, David Houston, Delbert McClinton, Dierks Bentley, Doug Stone, Dwight Yoakam, Earl Thomas Conley, Eddie Rabbitt, Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley, Faith Hill, Freddie Hart, Freddy Fender, Garth Brooks, George Burns, George Hamilton IV, George Jones, George Strait, Glen Campbell, Hank Locklin, Hank Williams Jr., Henson Cargill, Jack Greene, James Otto, Jamey Johnson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jerry Reed, Jim Ed Brown, Jim Reeves, Joe Nichols, John Anderson, John Berry, John Denver, John Michael Montgomery, Johnny Cash, Johnny Lee, Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Russell, Josh Turner, Junior Brown, Keith Urban, Keith Whitley, Kenny Rogers, Kris Kristofferson, Larry Gatlin, Lee Greenwood, Lyle Lovett, Mac Davis, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mel McDaniel, Merle Haggard, Pat Green, Patty Loveless, Porter Wagoner, Ralph Stanley, Randy Travis, Ray Benson, Ray Charles, Ray Price, Rick Rubin, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Roger Miller, Ronnie Milsap, Roy Clark, Ryan Adams, Sammi Smith, Sonny James, Steve Earle, Steve Wariner, Tammy Wynette, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Tom T. Hall, Trace Adkins, Travis Tritt, Vern Gosdin, Vince Gill, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson