Ferlin Husky’s 1956 hit “Gone” became the first country single of the Nashville Sound era to cross over to the pop Top 10. Smokey Rogers composed “Gone” for the smooth-voiced singer. The song was Ferlin Husky’s second number 1 on the country chart. It stayed at the top for 10 weeks with a total of 27 weeks on the charts. With soprano Millie Kirkham, the Jordanaires provided its vocal backing. “Gone” also crossed over to the Hot 100 peaking at number 4. Selling over one million copies, “Gone” was awarded a gold disc.
Ferlin singing “Gone”
It was previously recorded by Husky with steel guitarist Speedy West for Capitol Records in 1952. But Husky, then known as Terry Preston, was not able to chart the song. In the end, he re-recorded it in Nashville at Bradley’s Quonset Hut Studio having his original name. The recording is widely considered as the first example of the Nashville Sound production approach. Together with the talented background singers, they use smooth uptown arrangement with echo and sparse instrumental support that heightened the drama of Husky’s distinctive vocal.
“I talked them into putting more production on the song,” Mr. Husky recalled in a 1998 interview with the Texas disc jockey Tracy Pitcox. He added that the producer, Capitol’s Ken Nelson, “wasn’t thrilled with the arrangement, but after it became a hit he was proud of the song.”
Previous to recording this hit, Husky appeared regularly at the Grand Ole Opry. “Gone” drove him to network television appearances. The first was on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. The second was a spot as a guest host on the Kraft Television Theater, The Ed Sullivan Show. Lastly, he guested on talk shows hosted by Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, and Merv Griffin. Husky had to give up his Opry slot, but TV exposure introduced him to millions of viewers.
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