From the Pen of Lew DeWitt
By: Legacy Staff
5 years ago
For decades, The Statler Brothers brought their gospel harmonies to country music, winning award after award including Grammys, CMAs and AMAs for their pitch-perfect performances and their stellar songs. Writer Kurt Vonnegut once called them “America’s Poets” – and no doubt band member Lew DeWitt had a lot to do with that. DeWitt sang tenor for The Statler Brothers (only two of whom were brothers, and none of whom were named Statler) but he was more than one voice among many. DeWitt was also the songwriter of some of the group's top hits, lending his poetic pen to their success.
Lew DeWitt would have turned 75 years old today. Today, we're celebrating his birthday by listening to some of the best songs he wrote as one of The Statler Brothers.
Flowers on the Wall was the group’s first big hit and it earned them the 1965 Grammy for “Best Contemporary (R&R) Performance - Group (Vocal Or Instrumental)” (which loosely translates to “best pop performance by a group”). Thanks in part to the power of DeWitt’s songwriting, The Statler Brothers were also named the Best New Country and Western Artists of 1965.
Decades later, DeWitt’s song was introduced to a new generation when it was featured in 1994 hit flick Pulp Fiction. But he did not live to see this new interest in his song, nor his group’s induction in the country music and gospel halls of fame. DeWitt died of Crohn’s disease August 15, 1990, at just 52 years of age, nearly a decade after departing the group due to poor health.
Though The Statler Brothers continued without him, it wasn’t quite the same, and they never again achieved the same success that they had with DeWitt. Here are a few more hits from The Statler Brothers’ heyday – with Lew DeWitt’s signature sound.
Chet Atkins' Hands
Written by Linnea Crowther and Jessica Campbell