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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Louvin featured in collection of New York Times obits

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Country music legend Charlie Louvin, a resident of Wartrace who died in January, is the subject of one of the obituaries included in "The New York Times: The Obits -- Annual 2012," a collection of notable obituaries from the Times published between August 2010 and July of this year.

The book was published this month by Workman Publishing Co.

Interesting read

The obit, headliend "Charlie Louvin: In Sweet Country Harmony With His Brother," begins this way: "Charlie Louvin, a member of one of the pre-eminent brother acts in country music and an inspiration to several generations of rock musicians, died on Jan. 26 at his home in Wartrace, Tenn. He was 83.

"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 achieved his greatest fame with the Louvin Brothers, the popular duo that modernized the close-harmony singing of Depression-era acts like the Blue Sky Boys and the Delmore Brothers and that anticipated the keening vocal interplay of the Everly Brothers."

Famous names

Other notables whose obituaries are included in the volume include Amy Winehouse, Peter Falk, Don Meredith, Geraldine Ferraro, Patricia Neal, Edwin Newman, Tony Curtis and Ted Stevens. Also included are inventors, academics, artists, athletes and others, some well-known, others not.

The book has an introduction by columnist Pete Hammill and features a jacket blurb by Stephen King.

'McG.' remembered

Local historians may know that the Times' obituary department has another Bedford County connection, one which earned an entire volume several years back.

Robert McGill Thomas Jr., who died in 2000, was a Shelbyville native who served as one of the Times' best-loved obituary writers and whose best pieces were collected after his death in the book "52 McGs: The Best Obituaries from Legendary New York Times Reporter Robert McG. Thomas."

Thomas used the abbreviation "McG." for "McGill" in his byline, and "McG" became a slang term for his vivid, evocative obituaries, which often focused on off-beat subjects.

Thomas kept a home in Shelbyville and would visit during the holidays or the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.