April 20

“Send Me The Pillow You Dream On”: Hank Locklin’s 1957 Hit

Send me the pillow that you dream on
Don’t you know that I still care for you?
Send me the pillow that you dream on
So darling, I can dream on it, too

A 1949 Song, A 1957 Hit

Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” has become a standard for the Nashville sound. Originally country, this has been covered by different artists and made a crossover in pop, bluegrass, and jazz.

"Send Me The Pillow You Dream On": Hank Locklin's 1957 Hit 1
Hank Locklin posing with his guitar. (Photo by bear-family.com)

Hank Locklin initially penned and recorded this song. He first released it in September 1949. Unluckily, it didn’t hit the charts. Persistent to make it work and not believing in giving up, Locklin re-released the song in December 1957. Interestingly, “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” ranked no. 5 on Billboards chart of “Most Played C&W by Jockeys.” Additionally, it crossed over to the pop charts briefly.

Most notably, in the 1960s, the song was a hit for The Browns, Johnny Tillotson, and Dean Martin.

The Story

In the late 1940s to the early 1960s, expressing one’s love and feelings to another person materialized through a song. That explains why love songs thrived during that time. Hank Locklin’s “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” is obviously one of them.

In the song, the man is a jilted lover speaking to his ex-girlfriend. He has been waiting to hear from her but has finally given up. Now, he hits upon a form of comfort for himself singing,

“Send me the pillow that you dream on/So, darlin’, I can dream on it, too.”

Since unrequited love is like a common theme of love songs before, this Hank Locklin’s song is no different at all. Locklin’s construction of his song was more than art; it was a novel.

A Much-recorded Song

Covered by various artists of different genres, “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” went on to become a much-recorded song.

In 1960, country act the Browns featuring Jim Edward Brown covered the song in the pop genre that entered both the pop and country charts. Two years later, Johnny Tillotson also performed his version. It became the biggest pop hit reaching the Top 20, still on both pop and country charts.

However, the most unusual version of the song came in early 1965. In 1964, Dean Martin had boosted his career by recording a version of the standard “Everybody Loves Somebody” in an Ernie Freeman arrangement that made it sound like a pop/rock & roll song. Martin followed with more songs in a similar style: “The Door Is Still Open to My Heart,” which actually was an old rock & roll song, and the 1940s pop standard “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You.” “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” is also one of them. He recorded and released his version the following year. With three consecutive Top 40 pop hits, Martin’s producer, Jimmy Bowen, was on the lookout for another song he could work the same treatment on.

A music business veteran, Bowen was familiar with “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On.” He and Freeman settled on it as the fourth of Dean Martin’s singles in the rock & roll waltz style. It hit the pop Top 20, the fourth appearance of the song in the singles charts in seven years. Though Martin’s version did not cross over to the country charts, it demonstrated that his easygoing style was appropriate to the Country material, and Bowen would increasingly pick country songs for him to cover in the future. Notwithstanding its extensive pop success, “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” has remained a country standard recorded primarily by country artists over the years.

Watch and listen to Hank Locklin’s performance of his 1957 hit below.


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Hank Locklin, Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On

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