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Charlie Louvin
Charlie Louvin at Banjo Jim's NYC 2008
Charlie Louvin at Banjo Jim's NYC 2008
Background information
Birth nameCharles Elzer Loudermilk
Born(1927-07-07)July 7, 1927
Section, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJanuary 26, 2011(2011-01-26) (aged 83)
Wartrace, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instrument(s) Guitar, vocals
Years active1940s–2000s
Labels MGM, Capitol, United Artists, First Generation Records, Playback, Watermelon, Tompkins Square

Charles Elzer Loudermilk (July 7, 1927 – January 26, 2011), known professionally as Charlie Louvin, was an American country music singer and songwriter. He is best known as one of the Louvin Brothers, and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1955. [1]


Born in Section, Alabama, Louvin was one of seven children and grew up working on the family farm in nearby Henagar. [2] He started singing when he was eight years old. [3]

Louvin began singing professionally with his brother Ira as a teenager on local radio programs in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The boys sang traditional and gospel music in the harmony style they had learned while performing in their church's choir. [4]

After Charlie left the act briefly in 1945 to serve in the Army Air Forces during World War II, [5] the brothers moved first to Knoxville and later to Memphis, working as postal clerks by day, while making appearances in the evening. Another brief disbandment due to Charlie's service in the Korean War led to the brothers' relocation to Birmingham, Alabama. [4]

External audio
audio icon Country Music Performer Charlie Louvin, interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, 22:00, October 24, 2003. [6]

Primarily known as gospel artists, the Louvins were convinced by a sponsor, "you can't sell tobacco with gospel music," and began adding secular music to their repertoire. They began making appearances on the famed Grand Ole Opry during the 1950s, becoming official members in 1955. The Louvin Brothers released numerous singles, such as "When I Stop Dreaming", with over 20 recordings reaching the country music charts. Their rich harmonies served as an influence for later artists, such as Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, and The Byrds. [7]

By the 1960s, Charlie and Ira's popularity had waned and the brothers split up in 1963. In 1965, Ira was killed in a car accident. Charlie continued to perform solo, making numerous appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and in later years acting as an elder statesman for country music. [7]

In 2001, the Louvin Brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. [8]

In the 2000s, Charlie had begun rebuilding his career. Although he readily admitted he was never much of a writer, Louvin released a disc of classics containing one new song, a tribute to Ira, and a gospel album on Tompkins Square Records produced by Mark Nevers. [9] The songs mainly pair Louvin with other singers, such as George Jones, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Alex McManus of Bright Eyes, Elvis Costello and Derwin Hinson. He also wrote two songs with Rockabilly Hall of Famer Colonel Robert Morris, one of which is on Morris' trucking CD, Highway Hero.

As of 2003, Louvin lived in Manchester, Tennessee. [10] He closed his Louvin Brothers museum in Nashville and was looking to open another one in Monteagle, Tennessee, near Chattanooga. He was a cousin of songwriter John D. Loudermilk.

After his July 2010 cancer surgery, Louvin made his first public appearance, and second to last, at Nashville's Americana Music Conference, Sept. 10th. He performed with Emmylou Harris and longtime Harris and Gram Parsons accompanist Al Perkins on steel guitar. [11]

Louvin made one final public appearance on RFD-TV's The Marty Stuart Show, alongside his son, Sonny Louvin. He performed "See the Big Man Cry", after which country music icon Connie Smith spoke of her admiration for Louvin, before performing " I Don't Love You Anymore". Leroy Troy, alongside Lester Armistead and Dan Kelly, then performed "Bald Knob, Arkansas", which was written by Charlie's brother, Ira Louvin. Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives then performed the Louvin Brothers gospel song "The Family Who Prays". The show then closed with Louvin singing the Tom T. Hall song "Back When We Were Young", with Stuart accompanying him on mandolin. The show aired on January 29, 2011, three days after Louvin's death. The show ended with a memorial message: "This episode was taped on December 2, 2010. It was to be Mr. Louvin's last televised performance."

Louvin underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer on July 22, 2010. Doctors expected a full recovery, [12] but "the surgery did not go as planned," according to Louvin's son Sonny, and "he will begin using alternative methods of treatment, going forward". [13] Louvin died from its complications in the early morning of January 26, 2011, in his Wartrace, Tennessee, home, aged 83. [2] [14] [15]



Year Album US Country Label
1965 Less and Less & I Don't Love You Anymore 6 Capitol
1966 The Many Moods of Charlie Louvin 9
Lonesome Is Me 13
1967 I'll Remember Always 22
I Forgot to Cry 25
1968 Will You Visit Me On Sundays?
1969 Hey Daddy 37
The Kind of Man I Am 32
1970 Here's a Toast to Mama 44
Ten Times Charlie
1971 Something to Brag About (w/ Melba Montgomery) 45
Baby, You've Got What It Takes (w/ Melba Montgomery) 45
1972 The Best of Charlie Louvin
1974 It Almost Felt Like Love United Artists
1982 Jim and Jesse and Charlie (w/ Jim & Jesse) Soundwaves
1996 The Longest Train (w/ Julian Dawson and Steuart Smith) Watermelon
2006 Echoes of the Louvin Brothers Varèse Sarabande
2007 Charlie Louvin Tompkins Square
Live at Shake It Records
2008 Steps to Heaven
Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs
2009 Hickory Wind: Live at the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull True North Records
2010 The Battles Rage On


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1964 " I Don't Love You Anymore" 4 1 Less and Less / I Don't Love You Anymore
1965 "Less and Less" 27
"See the Big Man Cry" 7
"Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep" 26 The Many Moods of Charlie Louvin
1966 "You Finally Said Something Good (When You Said Goodbye)" 15 Lonesome Is Me
"Something's Wrong"
"The Proof Is in the Kissing" 58 Will You Visit Me On Sundays?
1967 "Off and On" 38 I Forgot to Cry
"On the Other Hand" 44
"I Forgot to Cry" 46
"The Only Way Out (Is to Walk Over Me)" 3 Will You Visit Me On Sundays?
1968 "Will You Visit Me On Sundays?" 20 22
"Hey Daddy" 15 21 Hey Daddy
1969 "What Are Those Things (With Big Black Wings)" 19 The Kind of Man I Am
"Let's Put Our World Back Together" 27
"Little Reasons" 29 Here's a Toast to Mama
1970 "Here's a Toast to Mama" 42
"Tiny Wings" Ten Times Charlie
"Come and Get It Mama" 47
" Something to Brag About" (w/ Melba Montgomery) 18 26 Something to Brag About
"Sittin' Bull" 54 single only
1971 "Did You Ever" (w/ Melba Montgomery) 26 Baby, You've Got What It Takes
"Love Has to Die by Itself" The Best of Charlie Louvin
" Baby, You've Got What It Takes" (w/ Melba Montgomery) 30 Baby, You've Got What It Takes
"I'm Gonna Leave You" (w/ Melba Montgomery) 60 singles only
1972 "I Placed a Call"
"Just in Time (To Watch Love Die)" 70
"Baby, What's Wrong with Us" (w/ Melba Montgomery) 66
1973 "A Man Likes Things Like That" (w/ Melba Montgomery) 59
"Bottom of the Fifth"
"Funny Man"
1974 "You're My Wife, She's My Woman" 36 It Almost Felt Like Love
"It Almost Felt Like Love" 76
"I Want to See You (One More Time)" singles only
1975 "I Just Want a Happy Life"
"Is I Love You That Easy to Say"
1976 "Sweet Texas"
"Store Up Love"
1978 "When I Was Your Man"
1979 "Two of a Kind"
"Love Don't Care" (w/ Emmylou Harris) 91
1982 "North Wind" (w/ Jim & Jesse) 56 Jim and Jesse and Charlie
"Showboat Gamblin'" (w/ Jim & Jesse)
1989 "The Precious Jewel" (w/ Roy Acuff) 87 singles only
"He Keeps Crying Over You"
2007 "Ira" Charlie Louvin
2010 "Back When We Were Young" "Single Only"


  1. ^ "Charlie Louvin". Gaylord Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 13, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  2. ^ a b Frisckis-Warren, Bill (2011-01-26). "Charlie Louvin, Country Singer, Dies at 83". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  3. ^ Louvin, Charlie (2010). "Country Music Hall of Famer, Charlie Louvin, Takes Us from 1927 to 2010" (Interview). Archived from the original on 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  4. ^ a b Wolfe, Charles K. (1996). In Close Harmony: The Story of the Louvin Brothers. University of Mississippi Press. ISBN  978-0-87805-892-1.
  5. ^ Singer Charlie Louvin Dies at 83. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  6. ^ "Country Music Performer Charlie Louvin". Fresh Air. WHYY ( NPR). October 24, 2003. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Jon (October 2003). "Livin' Lovin' Losin' the Louvin's Way". Country Standard Time. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  8. ^ "Louvin Brothers Induction to Country Music Hall of Fame". Country Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on January 30, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Gerome, John (2009-02-25). "An 81-year-old's country music career resurgence". Bangkok Post. p. 39.
  10. ^ A Country Collection: We're Louvin It. Hoekstra, Dave. November 30, 2003. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  11. ^ "Seeing Charlie Louvin for the last time". No Depression. No Depression. Archived from the original on 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  12. ^ Talbott, Chris (July 8, 2010). "Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Louvin has pancreatic cancer, scheduled for surgery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 13, 2010.[ permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Charlie Louvin's Cancer Inoperable. August 5, 2010 Retrieved August 8, 2010
  14. ^ Blau, Max (2011-01-26). "Charlie Louvin: 1927-2011". Decatur, Georgia: Paste Media Group. Archived from the original on 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  15. ^ "Charlie Louvin: 1927-2011". Opry News. Gaylord Entertainment. Retrieved 2011-01-26.[ permanent dead link]
Works cited
  • Gutterman, Jimmy. (1998). "The Louvin Brothers". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 305–6.

External links