Born and raised outside on a Missouri farm, Husky became infatuated with music and began to play guitar as a child. Following the WW II, he became a DJ in Missouri, then in Bakersfield, CA. While he was in California, Husky began using the name Terry Preston, because he believed his given name sounded too rural. He also began singing in honky tonks, using the Preston name. At one of his gigs, Tennessee Ernie Ford's manager Cliffie Stone heard Husky and took him under his wing. Stone helped Husky secure a record contract at Capitol Records in 1953. As soon as he signed with Capitol, he reverted to using Ferlin Husky as his performing name.

Husky's first records were generally ignored. It wasn't until he sang on Jean Shepard's "A Dear John Letter" that he had a hit. "A Dear John Letter" became a number one hit, but Husky wasn't able to follow it immediately with a solo hit, although the duo had a sequel, "Forgive Me John," later that year. Husky didn't have a solo hit until 1955, when "I Feel Better All Over" and its flip side, "Little Tom," climbed into the country Top Ten. Around the same time, he developed his comic alter ego, Simon Crum. Husky signed Crum to a separate record contract with Capitol and began releasing records under that name.

Husky racked up a consistent string of hits during the late '50s, reaching his peak in 1957, when "Gone" spent ten weeks at number one; the song crossed over into the pop charts, climbing to number four. In 1958, Crum had a number two hit with "Country Music Is Here to Stay." Though he had several hits in 1959, none of his songs broke the Top Ten. In 1960, he had his biggest hit, the gospel song "Wings of a Dove," which was number one for a total of ten weeks and reached number 12 on the pop charts.

Despite the massive success of "Wings of a Dove," Husky wasn't able to sustain a presence on the country charts during the '60s. He remained a popular concert attraction, but he had no Top Ten hits between "Wings of a Dove" and "Once," which hit number four in 1966. A year after "Once," he had his final Top Ten hit with "Just for You." In the late '60s, Husky managed to incorporate the sounds of contemporary country-pop into his music, which resulted in his brief career revitalization. Husky kept racking up minor hits until 1975. In 1977, he had heart surgery and briefly retired from performing. During the '80s and '90s, he performed regularly at the Grand Ole Opry.