Charlie Louvin of The Louvin Brothers dies at 83

Charlie Louvin, who with his brother Ira formed one of country music's best-loved brother duos, The Louvin Brothers, and was an inspiration to a number of rock artists, died Wednesday (26 January) at his home in Wartrace, Tennessee. He was 83 years old.

The Country Music Hall of Famer and member of the Grand Ole Opry had been battling stage 2 pancreatic cancer. In July 2010, Charlie underwent surgery for his condition, and a fundraising benefit and auction was held in October 2010 in Bell Buckle, Tenn.

Formed in the mid-'50s and featuring Charlie on guitar and lead vocals, while Ira played mandolin and handled high tenor harmonies, The Louvin Brothers scored a number of hits like Cash On The Barrelhead, I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby and If I Could Only Win Your Love.

The latter song was a breakthrough hit in1975 for singer Emmylou Harris, who told The Observer of the Louvin Brothers' music, "I just could not get enough of that sound. I'd always loved the Everly Brothers, but there was something scary and washed in the blood about the sound of the Louvin Brothers."

Others agreed: The Byrds, Elvis Costello and Uncle Tupelo are just some of the rock artists who cite The Louvin Brothers as an influence.

The duo broke up in 1963, and Ira died in a car accident two years later. But Charlie continued to record, and hit the charts with the singles I Don't Love You Anymore, Hey Daddy, Off And On and I Think I'll Go Somewhere And Cry Myself To Sleep.

In pop culture circles, The Louvin Brothers are famous (or infamous) for their 1960 gospel concept album Satan Is Real. Designed by Ira, the cover features the duo standing in a rock quarry (Hell, perhaps?) in front of an enormous plywood rendition of the Devil. Depending on your taste, it's one of the greatest album jackets of all time, or one of the worst. Whatever the case, it made a statement.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.