Ten Favorite Songwriting Teams: Louvin/Louvin (#3)

@FourWalls (14170)
United States
April 10, 2017 9:46pm CST
Closing out my trio of favorite songwriter countdowns, a series of countdowns inspired by @teamfreak16 who counted down his favorite male and female songwriters, is the next entry on the list of favorite songwriting teams. Here's the next entry. #3: Ira & Charlie Louvin The Louvn Brothers set the country music world on its ear with their unbelievable harmonies. But that wasn't the only aspect of the brothers: they were superb songwriters as well. Starting as a gospel act solely, their record label told them to stick to gospel because there was already a brother duet on the label who did "country music" (Jim & Jesse, who later became bluegrass icons). They were warned if their attempt to do "secular" country music failed they'd be thrown off the label. This, in spite of the fact that they'd already had numerous hits in country as songwriters, such as "Are You Teasing Me" by Carl Smith and "Baldknob, Arkansas" by Roy Acuff. They rolled the dice, putting their career on the back of one song. The song, "When I Stop Dreaming," was a top ten smash. The rest, as they say, is history. Ira, the older, was a tormented soul. Why they haven't made a biopic about him is beyond me, because it was loaded with all that "gossipy" things that Hollywood films seem to love. He was married four times (and had a daughter by a woman he met while out on tour), drank like a fish, and was a nasty drunk. He had a habit of throwing his mandolin when it went out of tune. (Ha, you thought Pete Townshend invented that?) That resulted in several things: one, Ira became really good at repairing instruments (there's a "high G guitar" that he invented on display at the Hall of Fame); and two, it made promoters hesitant to hire the brothers. Ira felt called to be a preacher, but his revolving door marriages forbade that in the Baptist tradition. So, instead, he wrote hell fire and brimstone songs. Several of them seem to be Ira preaching to himself more than to any listener. Their final concert was opening for Ray Price in 1963 at a rate that was less than a fourth of what they had commanded at the height of their popularity. Less than two years later, Ira, who had ironically managed to get his drinking under control, was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from a personal appearance tour. Charlie died in 2011, ten years after their Hall of Fame induction. The legacy they left including spine-chilling harmonies and some of the most classic songs in country and bluegrass music. Ira & Charlie Louvin Ira: born Ira Lonnie Loudermilk, April 21, 1924, Section, AL; died June 20, 1965, Williamsburg, MO (car wreck) Charlie: born Charlie Ezra Loudermilk, July 7, 1927, Section, AL; died January 26, 2011, Wartrace, TN (pancreatic cancer) Country Music Hall of Fame - 2001 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame - 1979 Best-known songs: "When I Stop Dreaming" (also covered by Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, Dailey & Vincent, and others); "If I Could Only Win Your Love" (covered by Emmylou Harris); "The Christian Life" (covered by the Byrds); "Cash on the Barrel Head" (also covered by Gram Parsons, Dolly Parton, and others). Here's one of their few TV appearances (Ira's temper kept them off most shows), doing one of their songs with Ira singing lead:
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@JohnRoberts (59983)
• Los Angeles, California
11 Apr 17
Another non surprise.
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@jstory07 (68248)
• Roseburg, Oregon
11 Apr 17
Yes it is.
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@teamfreak16 (41175)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
11 Apr 17
Yep, going with the heavy hitters.
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