Thursday, January 27, 2011

Charlie Louvin, who inspired Johnny Cash, dies

Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Louvin died Wednesday morning at his home in Wartrace, Tenn., reports The Tennessean. "Country music has lost one of its royal figures," fellow Grand Ole Opry member Marty Stuart told reporter Peter Cooper. (Chet Atkins, center, with Louvin, right, and his brother Ira in 1956 Tennessean photo by Bill Preston)

From the late 1940s until the early '60s, the Louvin Brothers maintained "country music’s emotional, full-throated harmony tradition," writes Cooper. They maintained a strong interest in gospel music, in which they started. After the brothers quit performing together in 1963 (Ira died in 1965), Charlie Louvin had a successful solo career that included 16 Billboard Top 40 country hits in the ’60s, such as "See the Big Man Cry."

Cooper reports that in the '40s, one teenage fan attended a Louvin Brothers show in Dyess, Ark., and Louvin took time to chat with him while munching on soda crackers. Years later, the fan became a star himself: For much of his career, Johnny Cash ate two soda crackers before he went onstage, in emulation of Charlie Louvin. (Read more)

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