Lew DeWitt

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Lew DeWitt
Lewis Calvin DeWitt.jpg
Background information
Birth name Lewis Calvin DeWitt
Born (1938-03-12)March 12, 1938
Roanoke, Virginia, United States
Died August 15, 1990(1990-08-15) (aged 52)
Waynesboro, Virginia, United States
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1954–1982 (with The Statler Brothers)
1985-1990 (as a solo artist)
Labels Columbia, Mercury, Compleat
Associated acts The Statler Brothers

Lewis Calvin DeWitt (March 12, 1938 – August 15, 1990) was an American country music singer, guitarist, and composer. He was a founding member of The Statler Brothers and the group's original tenor.

Biography[edit]

For most of his career, DeWitt sang tenor for The Statler Brothers. Songs he wrote for the group include "Flowers on the Wall"—which was a greatest hit during the late 60s and early 70s that made the group popular—"Things," "Since Then," "Thank You World," "The Strand," "The Movies," and "Chet Atkins' Hand." In 1968, while the group was under contract to Columbia Records, DeWitt recorded a solo single composed of the songs "She Went A Little Bit Farther" and "Brown Eyes" (the latter was penned by DeWitt).

In November 1981, DeWitt took a leave of absence from The Statler Brothers due to surgery and treatment for Crohn's disease,[1]:95 from which he had suffered since adolescence. At his suggestion, Jimmy Fortune was tapped as his temporary replacement. He would rejoin the group in June of the following year (with Fortune having been offered a permanent position in the group's backing band), but this arrangement lasted less than a week. DeWitt officially retired that same month with Fortune becoming his permanent replacement.[1]:96

Three years later, DeWitt, feeling that his health had taken a turn for the better through continuing treatment, mounted a solo career. During this time he would return to touring and would release two albums, Here to Stay (1984)[2] and On My Own (1985).[3] He also charted a solo single on the country charts, the No. 77 "You'll Never Know" in 1985. A third and final album for the Compleat label remains unreleased, although two singles were pulled from it just prior to the label going into bankruptcy.

DeWitt was married three times. From 1961 through 1973 he was married to Glenda Kay Simmers, with whom he had two sons and two daughters. He was later married to Joyce Anne Arehart, and then Judy Fitzgerald Wells.[4]

DeWitt would remain active as a performer until late 1989,[5] when his health went into a downward spiral which culminated in his death on August 15, 1990, in Waynesboro, Virginia.[6] The cause of death was heart and kidney disease, stemming from complications of Crohn's disease. Lew Dewitt Boulevard in Waynesboro was named in his honor in 1992.[7]

In 2011, amateur video of DeWitt performing at the Burley Tobacco Festival in the late 1980s surfaced and was posted onto YouTube.[8] The set is notable for the inclusion of what would become his final single, "Moonset."

As of 2016, none of DeWitt's solo recordings have been released in any digital format.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1984 Here To Stay self-released
1985 On My Own Compleat
1987 Hello Houston (unreleased)

Singles[edit]

Year A-Side US Country Label
1967 Brown Eyes Columbia
1985 You'll Never Know 77 Compleat
1986 I Love Virginia
Hello Houston
1987 Slow Dance
1990 Moonset Oak

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Reid, Don; Reid, Harold (2007). Random Memories. Nashville, Tennessee: Yell Publishing Company. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-9800883-0-4. 
  2. ^ Moses, Ellen (26 July 1986). "DeWitt to visit Orange fair". The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  3. ^ Sharpe, Jerry (8 December 1985). "Statlers' Lew DeWitt back on his own". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Vest, Jacques (2015). "Lewis Calvin "Lew" DeWitt (1938–1990)". Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Retrieved July 21, 2018. 
  5. ^ Wiese, Cleve (25 March 2008). "Still making his mark". The Daily Progress. Charlottesville, Virginia. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Former Statler Brother Lew DeWitt dies at 52". The Des Moines Register. AP. August 16, 1990. p. 8. Retrieved July 21, 2018 – via newspapers.com. 
  7. ^ Carter, Sam (June 13, 1992). "DeWitt Blvd. dedicated; singer lauded". The News Leader. Staunton, Virginia. p. 1. Retrieved July 21, 2018 – via newspapers.com. 
  8. ^ "LEW DEWITT - Live In Concert - * RARE *" – via YouTube. Published on Nov 8, 2011 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]