Country singer Charlie Louvin dies at 83

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Interest in the Louvins ebbed and flowed over the years with small resurgences in the 1970s, 1990s and in the new century. Harris had a hit with their “If I Could Only Win Your Love” in 1975. In 2007, his first studio album in years, “Charlie Louvin,” boasted appearances from artists as diverse as George Jones, Jeff Tweedy and Elvis Costello. It was nominated for a Grammy as best traditional folk album.

A year later, his “Steps To Heaven” was nominated as best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album. It was one of two albums he put out in 2008; the other was “Charlie Louvin Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs.”

The duo had become members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955, and Charlie Louvin remained an Opry performer for more than 50 years.

During one stretch of touring in 1955, Elvis Presley was the brothers’ opening act. That second billing didn’t last long, he recalled in 2007.

“It didn’t take a month until they dropped the name ‘Presley’ and nearly the backdrop of the entire stage was ELVIS. He got big quick, very quick, but he was a good kid.”

He laughed when he said he was “kinda like the people in the audience _ I didn’t know what he’s doing. … My brother said he’s the only man he’d ever seen that could wear his clothes on out from the inside with all his shaking.”

Louvin was born Charles Loudermilk in Henager, Ala., in 1927. He and Ira, born in 1924, worked in the fields on the family farm and began singing together as teenagers, developing the harmony that would become their trademark.

“I can remember my brother and I singing together when I was 5 and he was 8 years old,” Louvin told The Associated Press. “He already knew how, and he was teaching me.”

They worked on radio stations in Knoxville and Memphis in the 1940s, and signed their first record deal with Apollo in 1947. Eventually their sound would change music.

“I’m the biggest harmony lover in the world,” Louvin said last year. “If a song’s worth singing you ought to put harmony on it.”


Associated Press Writers Joe Edwards and Kristin M. Hall contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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