Teddy Wilburn, a driving force in country music with his late brother Doyle as the Wilburn Brothers, died of congestive heart failure yesterday (Nov. 24) at Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville.

Teddy Wilburn, a driving force in country music with his late brother Doyle as the Wilburn Brothers, died of congestive heart failure yesterday (Nov. 24) at Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville. He was 71.

The brothers began their career as the Wilburn Children in rural Arkansas, scoring their first hit, "Sparkling Brown Eyes," with Webb Pierce in 1954, a record that spent 18 weeks on the charts. Other hits were "Hurt Her Once for Me," as well as "Roll Muddy River" and "Trouble's Back in Town." From 1955 to 1972, they had 30 songs on the country charts.

The brothers sang regularly on the Grand Ole Opry as children in the early 1940s but were prevented by child labor laws from full cast membership. They eventually joined the cast in 1953. Later, they hosted their own syndicated TV show, "The Wilburn Brothers," for more than 12 years.

Their publishing and booking agencies sparked the careers of Loretta Lynn, Jean Shepard, Sonny James and the Osborne Brothers, among others. Through their TV show, they also gave exposure to the Oak Ridge Boys, Tammy Wynette, Bill Monroe, Tex Ritter and Barbara Mandrell.

Doyle Wilburn died in 1982, but Teddy continued performing on the Opry through the 1990s, often with his brothers Lester and Leslie.


COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2003. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print