Country Music Hall of Fame member Ferlin Husky has passed away at the age of 85, after a long battle with heart disease. His family confirms to Nashville's Tennessean newspaper that the legendary singer died today, March 17, at his daughter's home in Westmoreland, Tenn.
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Ferlin had a multiple-level career, beginning with music and encompassing acting and television hosting. Born December 3, 1925, and raised on a farm near Flat River, Mo., the singer learned to play guitar at a young age. He enlisted in the Merchant Marines during World War II and fought in the Battle of Cherbourg, keeping his voice in shape by singing for his fellow enlisted men.
Upon returning home, he moved to California, where he started making records under the name Terry Preston, thinking that his own name sounded a bit too rural for fans to accept. When that didn't work out, he recorded a duet with Jean Shepard, 'A Dear John Letter,' in 1953, which brought him recognition under his own name. Soon he had his own hits with 'Gone,' which became a gold record for him in 1957, followed by 'Wings of a Dove' that same year. Other popular singles included 'I Feel Better All Over (More Than Anywhere Else)' and 'Rosie Cries a Lot.'
Ferlin also developed an alter-ego, Simon Crum, who showed his more playful and comedic side. Simon was also signed to Capitol Records, and was a recording artist with his own fan base with the hit single 'Country Music Is Here to Stay.' The singer began to develop the character of Simon when he was in the Merchant Marines and performing for his fellow enlistees. He modeled the character after a neighbor he had in Missouri named Simon Crump.
Ferlin is credited with helping to create what became known as