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Who Teddy Wilburn
When November 24, 2003
Where Nashville, TN
What Teddy of The Wilburn Brothers dies at 71
 

(Excerpt from the article mentioned above)

By Craig Havighurst
Staff Writer, The Tennesseean

Teddy Wilburn, half of a country duo that excelled in both music and the music business from the 1950s through the 1970s, died yesterday from congestive heart failure after a battle with a rare form of Parkinson's disease at Southern Hills Medical Center. He was less than a week shy of his 72nd birthday.

The Wilburn Brothers, Teddy and Doyle, sang close harmony on such hits as Hurt Her Once for Me, and wrote songs such as Somebody's Back in Town and Let Me Be The First To Know.

They also founded publishing and booking companies that aided the careers of Loretta Lynn, Jean Shepard, Sonny James, the Osborne Brothers and others. Doyle died in 1982.

Because Mr. Wilburn's lead singing and his brother's tenor harmony evoked the style of acts such as the Monroe Brothers and the Louvin Brothers, ''Many people deemed the Wilburn Brothers to be the last great brother duet act in country music,'' WSM disc jockey and country music historian Eddie Stubbs said yesterday.

Don Helms, the former Hank Williams steel guitar player who backed the Wilburns as an instrumentalist and business partner, said, ''I spent 10 of the best years of my life with them.''

Thurman Theodore Wilburn was born Nov. 30, 1931, in the Ozark Mountain community of Hardy, Ark. He and Doyle were merely 6 and 5 years old, respectively, when their father, Benjamin, organized them and older sons Lester and Leslie and daughter Geraldine into The Wilburn Family band.

The children first performed outdoors on Christmas Eve 1937 in nearby Thayer, Mo.

From 1955 to 1972, the Wilburns placed 30 songs on the country charts, though none peaked higher than Hurt Her Once for Me, a No. 3 record in 1966, according to Billboard. Other top five hits included Which One Is to Blame (1959), Trouble's Back In Town (1962), Roll Muddy River (1963) and It's Another World (1965).

As businessmen, the Wilburns proved arguably even more formidable. They launched Sure-Fire, a music publishing house, and the Wil-Helm Talent Agency, a partnership with Helms.

Between 1963 and 1974, the Wilburn Brothers were hosts of one of country music's first color syndicated TV shows, exposing artists they worked with, including Lynn and the Osbornes. Other artists who appeared on The Wilburn Brothers Show included The Oak Ridge Boys, Tammy Wynette, Bill Monroe, Tex Ritter and Barbara Mandrell.

Mr. Wilburn studied acting in Hollywood for a time and continued to perform on the Opry into the 1990s. He was a member of the cast at the time of his death.

Funeral services will be open to the public at the Ryman Auditorium tomorrow at 1 p.m., with visitation beginning at noon.

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Contact Craig Havighurst
The Tennessean


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