The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin. The brothers are considered pioneers of close harmony and country music. They gained popularity in the 1950s with their string of hits, such as “Knoxville Girl”, and became a staple of country music and gospel.
The Louvin Brothers
The Louvin Brothers were an American gospel music duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin. The brothers are known for their close harmony singing and satirical songs, such as “The Great Atomic Power”, as well as for their serious gospel recordings. They first gained prominence in the country music world in the 1950s as members of the Grand Ole Opry. Their genre of music then later transformed into gospel music.
Their beginnings in gospel music
The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira Lee “Ike” Louvin (1924–1965) and Charlie Edgar Louvin (1927–2011). The brothers are cousins to The Everly Brothers. They sang close harmony, with Charlie’s higher voice periodically soaring over Ike’s lead vocals. Although generally associated with country music, they also wrote songs with strong gospel and Christian themes. Given their devout Christian faith, they became known as “The Delta Devils” for their black humor.
The Louvins were born in the valley of Sand Mountain in Northeast Alabama, near the town of Henagar. Their father, John Martin Loudermilk, was a preacher and a member of sand Mountain’s Old regular Baptist church. Ike first sang in public during a revival when he was 8 years old; Charlie was 12 when he first stepped on stage at a church in Henagar to fill in for his brother on the song “I Wish I Was 18 Again”, which proved to be controversial because it was about a boy who wanted to drink again. In high school, the brothers began singing together for school functions and at talent shows; sometime after Ike returned from serving in World War II, they began appearing on local radio stations
The influence of their music
The Louvin Brothers were an American country music duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin. The duo performed and recorded together from 1955 to 1963, when Charlie retired due to illness. They are known mainly for their close harmony work as inspired by gospel music and on hymns and traditional songs, as well as their original compositions in the then-new genre of country music. Their hit recordings included “Knoxville Girl”, “When I Stop Dreaming”, and “Great Atomic Power”. The brothers wrote such classic country hits as “Cash on the Barrelhead” and “How’s the World Treating You”.
The Louvin Brothers and Their Gospel Music
The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin. The brothers are notable for their influence on country music and their pioneering of close harmony, a vocal style in which two or more singers sing in unison or octaves. The brothers wrote and recorded such classic hits as “Knoxville Girl”, “When I Loved Her Best”, and “Satan Is Real”. In addition to their own recordings, the Louvin Brothers were frequent guests on The Grand Ole Opry.
The popularity of their gospel music
The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin. The brothers are notable for being pioneers of close harmony, a form of country music or gospel music in which two singers sing tightly together, either matching the melody exactly or harmonizing above and below it. They are referred to as having been “among the most influential harmonies of the twentieth century.”
The brothers achieved their greatest success in the 1950s with a string of close harmony recordings for Capitol Records. Their best-known recordings include “The Knoxville Girl”, “When I Loved Her Best”, and “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby”. Between 1955 and 1963, 26 of their recordings reached Billboard’s Country & Western Top Ten.
Even though they were most popular as a country music act, the Louvins also frequently sang gospel songs on stage and on many of their records. Their strong interest in gospel music is credited as being influential in sparking a renewed interest in that genre during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Because of their prominence in gospel music, they became known as “the Photoshop” by Nashville disc jockeys; but unlike artists such as Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis, who made similar crossovers between country and gospel, the Louvin Brothers maintained careers that avoided being pigeonholed into any one genre.
The impact of their gospel music
The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira Levine Louvin (1924-1965) and Charlie Monroe Louvin (1927-2011). The brothers are notable for their influence on country music and gospel music, and their pioneering work in close harmony singing. Their Style of music is often referred to as “country-gospel”, “high lonesome”, or more narrowly as bluegrass gospel, mountain gospel, or white gospel. Although the brothers were influenced by earlier gospel music, they are most commonly associated with the development of southern gospel during the 1950s.
The impact of their gospel music can still be felt today. In 1998, The Gospel Music Association awarded the Louvin Brothers its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, Charlie and Ira were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine called them “the greatest country harmony duo of all time”.