The Wilburn Brothers

American country music duo
The Wilburn Brothers
Teddy (left) and Doyle Wilburn in 1954
Teddy (left) and Doyle Wilburn in 1954
Background information
OriginHardy, Arkansas, U.S.
Years active1954–1982
Past membersDoyle Wilburn
Teddy Wilburn

The Wilburn Brothers were an American country music duo from the 1950s to the 1970s, consisting of brothers Virgil Doyle Wilburn (1930–1982)[1] and Thurman Theodore "Teddy" Wilburn (1931[1]–2003).[2]


The brothers were born in Hardy, Arkansas.[1] They first attracted attention as child performers, beginning in 1937, in an act called The Wilburn Children;[3] Roy Acuff discovered them and brought them to the Grand Ole Opry in 1940.[4] Due to federal child labor laws, the Wilburns were forced to leave the Opry after six months.[1]

After growing up, they continued to travel and were regulars on the similar Louisiana Hayride program in Shreveport from 1948[5] until 1951. After the family act disbanded, and the brothers served stints in the US Army during the Korean War, they continued in 1953 as The Wilburn Brothers touring with Faron Young and Webb Pierce.[6] They signed with Decca Records in May 1954,[7] and had their first hit record the same year, backing Webb Pierce, on "Sparkling Brown Eyes."[8] Other notable hits include "Go Away With Me" (1956), "Which One Is To Blame" (1959), "Trouble's Back In Town" (1962), "It's Another World" (1965), and "Hurt Her Once For Me" (1967).[1]

In 1956, the Wilburns were offered the chance to record "Heartbreak Hotel" before Elvis Presley.[9] After hearing the song they decided against recording it, describing it as "strange and almost morbid".[9]

In addition to being successful artists, the Wilburns formed the Sure-Fire Music Publishing Company (with Don Helms) in 1957,[10] as well as the Wil-Helm Talent Agency in the early 1960s.[6] They were instrumental in launching the careers of many country musicians, most notably Loretta Lynn,[11] whom they signed to their music publishing company. Lynn was the "girl singer" of the Wilburns' touring show between 1960 and 1968,[12] and she made weekly appearances on their syndicated television show from 1963 to 1971.[11] They also helped develop the career of Patty Loveless between 1973 and 1975, by having her tour with them on weekends and during school breaks.

The Wilburn Brothers had a syndicated television program, The Wilburn Brothers Show,[1] that ran from 1963 to 1974, with 354 half-hour episodes produced. Reruns can still be seen on the cable network RFD-TV and in the UK on Rural TV. They were Opry members from 1953 until the time of Doyle's death from lung cancer on October 16, 1982 (at age 52).[1] Teddy continued with the Opry as a solo artist,[1] until his death on November 24, 2003, of congestive heart failure, just six days before his 72nd birthday.[2]

They are both buried in the Nashville National Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.

The brothers long awaited biography, Two For The Show, will hit bookstores in 2022.



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US
1957 Wilburn Brothers Decca
1958 Side by Side
1959 Livin' in God's Country
1960 The Big Heartbreak
1961 The Wilburn Brothers Sing
City Limits
1962 Folk Songs
1963 Trouble's Back in Town
1964 Take Up Thy Cross
Never Alone
1965 Country Gold
I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight
1966 The Wilburn Brothers Show 25
Let's Go Country 10
1967 Two for the Show 7
Cool Country 11
1968 It's Another World 23
Greatest Hits
1969 We Need a Lot More Happiness
It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
1970 Little Johnny from Down the Street 31 143
Sing Your Heart Out Country Boy
1971 That She's Leaving Feeling
1973 Portrait MCA
1977 The Wilburn Brothers Sing Hinson and Gaither Calvary
1981 Stars of the Grand Ole Opry 1st Gen


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1954 "Sparkling Brown Eyes" (w/ Webb Pierce) 4 singles only
"Really Love Me"
"Let Me Be the First to Know"
1955 "I Wanna Wanna Wanna" 13
"Mixed Up Medley"
1956 "You're Not Play Love" 13
"I'm So in Love with You" 10
"Go Away with Me" 6
1957 "Nothing at All"
"Mister Love" (w/ Ernest Tubb) 8
"I Got Over the Blues"
1958 "My Baby Ain't My Baby No More"
"Hey, Mr. Bluebird" (w/ Ernest Tubb) 9
"Till I'm the Only One"
1959 "Which One Is to Blame" 4
"The Knoxville Girl" 18
"Somebody's Back in Town" 6
"A Woman's Intuition" 9
1960 "Sentenced to Die"
"Big Heartbreak" The Big Heartbreak
"The Best of All My Heartaches" 27 singles only
1961 "Legend of the Big River Train"
"Blue Blue Day" 14 The Wilburn Brothers Sing
"Tagging Along" single only
1962 "Trouble's Back in Town" 4 101 Trouble's Back in Town
"The Sound of Your Footsteps" 21
1963 "Roll Muddy River" 4 Never Alone
"Tell Her So" 10 single only
1964 "Hangin' Around" 34 Never Alone
"Impossible" single only
"I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight" 19 I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight
1965 "I Had One Too Many" 30
"It's Another World" 5 The Wilburn Brothers Show
1966 "Someone Before Me" 8 Let's Go Country
"I Can't Keep Away from You" 13 Two for the Show
"Hurt Her Once for Me" 3
1967 "Just to Be Where You Are" 70
"Roarin' Again" 13 It's Another World
"Goody, Goody Gumdrop" 24 Cool Country
1968 "I'm Leavin'" Two for the Show
"She'll Walk All Over You" It's Another World
"We Need a Lot More Happiness" 43 We Need a Lot More Happiness
1969 "It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine" 38
"Who Could Ask for More"
"Tag Along" single only
1970 "Little Johnny from Down the Street" 37 Little Johnny from Down the Street
"Lilacs in Winter"
"I've Gotta Hang My Hat Upon the Wind" That She's Leaving Feeling
1971 "That She's Leaving Feeling"
"Bloomin' Fools"
1972 "Arkansas" 47 Portrait
"Opryland" single only
"City's Goin' Country" Portrait
1973 "Simon Crutchfield's Grave"
1974 "You've Still Got a Place in My Heart" singles only
1975 "Milwaukee You're in Trouble"
1976 "Country Kind of Feeling"
1978 "Mama's Shoe Box"
1981 "I Know a Goodbye When I See One" Stars of the Grand Ole Opry


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 447/8. ISBN 0-85112-726-6.
  2. ^ a b "Teddy Wilburn". The Independent. December 2, 2003. Archived from the original on June 20, 2022. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  3. ^ Diekman 2007, p. 17.
  4. ^ Billboard, February 17, 1968, Nielsen Business Media, p. 30
  5. ^ Hefley 1992, p. 177.
  6. ^ a b Carlin 2003, p. 429.
  7. ^ Billboard, May 28, 1966, Nielsen Business Media, p. 6
  8. ^ "78 Record: Webb Pierce – Even Tho (1954)". Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Collins, Ace (2005). Untold Gold: The Stories Behind Elvis's No. 1 Hits. Souvenir Press Ltd. pp. 10–18. ISBN 978-0-285-63738-2.
  10. ^ Bush, Mitchell 2007, p. 91.
  11. ^ a b Ellison 1995, p. 175.
  12. ^ Hoffman, Ferstler 2004, p. 637.


  • Bush, Johnny – Mitchell, Rick (2007), Whiskey River (Take My Mind): The True Story of Texas Honky-Tonk, University of Texas Press
  • Carlin, Richard (2003), Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary, Taylor & Francis
  • Diekman, Diane (2007), Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story, University of Illinois Press
  • Ellison, Curtis W. (1995), Country Music Culture: From Hard Times To Heaven, University Press of Mississippi
  • Hefley, James C. (1992), Country Music Comin' Home, Hannibal Books
  • Hoffman, Frank W. - Ferstler, Howard (2004), Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, Volume 1, CRC Press

External links

  • Allmusic entry.
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†Honorary former member; was scheduled to be invited, but died before the invitation was extended

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