Charlie Louvin, who as a member of the Louvin Brothers influenced innumerable country artists and Americana-leaning rockers with songs of despair and redemption, passed away today at his home in Nashville after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Reuters reports. Louvin, born Charlie Loudermilk, was 83. A member of the Country Hall of Fame and a Grand Ole Opry mainstay, Louvin is perhaps best known for the Louvin Brothers' gospel-tinged "Satan Is Real," which along with its collection of songs dedicated to Christian hymns and spirituality boasts one of the most memorable album covers of all time.
Artists like Johnny Cash, who wrote in his biography about his inspiring encounter with Charlie Louvin, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard and James Taylor have all admitted being indebted to the Louvin Brothers' work, which also includes 1956's stellar "Tragic Songs of Love" and a dozen or so more LPs prior to his older brother Ira Louvin's death in 1965. Gram Parsons, as a member of the Byrds, famously covered the Louvins' "The Christian Life" on the Byrds' legendary "Sweetheart of the Rodeo."
As a solo artist, Louvin continued to be a living landmark in the country genre, releasing over a dozen more albums over the past few decades -- his most recent album, "The Battle Rages On," came out in November 2010 -- and being something of an ambassador of bluegrass music to rock fans thanks to a stretch opening for Cheap Trick.
Remember Charlie Louvin with some of his best work:
"I Can't Keep You in Love With Me"
"Satan Is Real"
"Let Her Go, I Love Her"
The Byrds - "The Christian Life"
[Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images]
- Charlie Louvin
- Charlie Loudermilk