Country Music Hall of Famer Ferlin Husky, 85, the innovative recording artist whose 1957 smash "Gone" helped usher in the pop-leaning Nashville Sound era, died Thursday at his daughter's home in Westmoreland, Tenn. He suffered from congestive heart failure.
Husky's classic singles "Gone" and "Wings of a Dove" each topped country charts for 10 straight weeks, and each became Top 20 pop records. A well-rounded performer, Husky also starred in motion pictures and entertained with his comedic alter ego, "Simon Crum," but he is best known for his contributions in sweetening the sound of Music Row in a way that allowed the music to appeal to twang-phobic audiences.
Husky also was a master of stagecraft, a dashing and energetic performer. "There were a lot of years when nobody in the business could follow Ferlin Husky," Merle Haggard said last year.
As Husky experienced some success, he worked to encourage others. "When I seen anybody who had talent, I tried to help them," Husky said in 2006. "Buck Owens? I dressed him up, putting some decent clothes on him, and got him with Capitol."