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Charlie Louvin, Member of Influential Country Duo the Louvin Brothers, Dead at 83

The Louvin Brothers' masterpiece: "Satan Is Real"

The Louvin Brothers' masterpiece: "Satan Is Real"

The New York Times reports that Charlie Louvin, member of the country duo the Louvin Brothers and a huge influence on Gram Parsons, the Byrds and the development of country-rock, died today at his home in Wartrace, Tenn. Louvin was 83.

According to the Times:

The cause was complications of pancreatic cancer, said Michael Manning, a friend of Mr. Louvin's and the producer of his single "Back When We Were Young," his final recording, released last year. Mr. Louvin underwent surgery for his cancer on July 22, 2010.

But perhaps the most influential work by Charlie and his brother Ira Louvin (who died in 1965) was the album Satan Is Real. With striking cover art designed by the Louvin brothers themselves (a huge, larger-than-life wood effigy of Satan), the 1960 collection of Christian country music has been an unavoidably point of reference for rock, folk and country singers since its release, and has even influenced punk rock and the birth of the Americana genre.

Back when the cliche was that "the Devil gets the better tunes," Charlie Louvin and his brother Ira made the case for godly music that also rocked.