We lost another of Elvis’ old musical buddies this week. Ferlin Husky was a successful country singer based in Memphis who scored two huge cross-over pop hits “Gone” and “On the Wings of a Dove.” He met Elvis in 1955 when the young swivel-hipped singer was added to several packaged tours throughout Mississippi and the south.
Poster for February 6, 1955 concert at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis (Husky's name is misspelled)
In addition to becoming Elvis’ friend, Ferlin Husky also got to know Presley's parents, Vernon and Gladys. When Elvis was drafted in the late 1950s, he continued to correspond with Husky while serving with the U.S. Army in Germany.
Ferlin Husky, Elvis, Farron Young and Hawkshaw Hawkins backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, December 21, 1957
On the occasion of Ferlin Husky’s death, it is appropriate to retell a story about him and Elvis’ passing. In August of 1977, Husky had heart surgery in Minneapolis. When he regained consciousness, he was read a list of the people who had left messages wishing him a speedy recovery. One of these people was Vernon Presley.
Husky once recalled, “I don't remember the date of the surgery, but I will never forget date they took the stitches out. I was laying there on the table and there was small, black and white television monitor up on the wall. All of the sudden they flashed a news bulletin on the screen. Elvis had died. It was Aug. 16, 1977, the day I got the stitches out.”
“You don't know how I felt. He was a good friend and a good person. It really took something out of me.”
Early publicity photo of Ferlin Husky
Let us say good bye to Ferlin Husky with a happier quote he once made about Elvis.
“He was so eager to learn how to entertain an audience. He'd watch everything I did. How many people can say Elvis Presley opened shows for them?”
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