DIARY - 27 NOVEMBER 2003
WILBURN RIP AT 71
BORN NOVEMBER 30, 1931, HARDY, ARKANSAS.
DIED NOVEMBER 24, 2003, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE.
music veteran Teddy Wilburn - the man who discovered Coalminer's Daughters
Loretta Lynn and Patty Loveless - died in Nashville on Monday November
Teddy, 71, was just a week short of his 72nd birthday when he expired
from congestive heart failure at Southern Hills Medical Centre.
He was the last surviving member of Grand Ole Opry act, the Wilburn
Brothers, who made their name on the Arthur Godfrey and Dick Clark
the senior member (by one year) of the duo, died of cancer on October
helped build the careers of many other artists - including Loretta Lynn,
Webb Pierce, Jean Shepard, Sonny James, Osborne Brothers and Patty Loveless.
They promoted their peers through their publishing company, Sure-Fire
Fire Music and their booking agency, Wil-Helm Talent.
And, of course, their syndicated television series, The Wilburn Brothers
Show, which debuted in 1963 and continued for more than 12 years.
Wilburn was born into a musical Arkansas family that initially involved
his parents and his four older siblings as performers.
Opry kingpin Roy Acuff saw the Wilburn Family performing in Missouri and,
in 1940, arranged for its first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.
They sang frequently on the Opry from the early 40's but were prevented
from full cast membership by child labour laws.
Teddy and Doyle and their older brothers, Lester and Leslie, began singing
regularly on radio station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1948, the
year that station launched The Louisiana Hayride.
They became Hayride members in 1949.
One of their frequent guests on their own show was the then little known
Teddy and Doyle served in the Army from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean
Meanwhile Pierce had steamed ahead on his own, debuting in Billboard on
Decca Records in 1952 with 'Wondering,' his first of a long string
of #1 hits.
In 1953, the Wilburn Brothers, as a duo, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
They signed to Decca in 1954 and, with Pierce accompanying them, scored
their first chart hit, 'Sparkling Brown Eyes,' that same year.
The brothers remained on the charts from 1955-1972 with 30 hits.
Their Top 10 hits included 'I'm So in Love With You,' 'Go Away With
Me,' 'Mr. Love' and 'Hey, Mr. Bluebird' (both with Ernest Tubb),
'Which One Is to Blame,' 'Somebody's Back in Town,' 'A Woman's Intuition,'
'Trouble's Back in Town,' 'Roll Muddy River,' 'Tell Her So,' 'It's Another
World,' 'Somebody Before Me' and 'Hurt Her Once for Me.'
spotted Lynn when she was just emerging as an artist and helped her secure
a record contract with Decca.
They also served as her music publisher and manager for several years.
Ultimately, Lynn sued the Wilburns over royalties and publishing rights
to her own songs.
As talent bookers, the Wilburns worked with such high-profile acts as
the Osborne Brothers, Martha Carson, Charlie Louvin, Jean Shepard and
1973, 16-year-old Patty Ramey - who would much later become famous
as Patty Loveless - joined the Wilburn Brothers touring show as a
She also signed a publishing deal with their Sure-Fire Music.
Her first husband was the Wilburns' drummer, Terry Lovelace.
Patty told Nu Country she changed her stage name to Loveless to avoid
being mistake for a now deceased porn actress with other oral skills.
After Doyle's death, Teddy appeared relatively infrequently on the
Opry, although he maintained his membership on the show.
Funeral services were held Wednesday November 26 at Nashville's Ryman
Auditorium and were open to the public.
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