Wake Forest 27587 Magazine

Summer 2017

The quarterly 27587 MAGAZINE is a must-read, in-you-hands publication that strives to give a deeper identity to rapidly growing Wake Forest, N.C. It highlights in-depth stories, targeting higher-income households.

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Page 10 of 76

10 Summer 2017 | Wake Forest 27587 Magazine T o some, John D. Loudermilk might not be a household name, especially when you consider the high-profile headliners who embraced the prolific songwriter's suitcase-deep collection of sheet music. Paul Revere and the Raiders struck top-of-the-chart gold in 1971 with Loudermilk's "Indian Reservation." His famous "Tobacco Road," influenced by his poverty-stricken childhood in Durham, was the hit for the one-hit- wonder British band with the American name, the Nashville Teens, in 1964. Those lyrics – with some variations – also flowed from the lips of Lou Rawls, Jefferson Airplane, and Eric Burton and The Animals, to name just a few. All those song pickups, however, didn't seem to include the homespun one about hitchhiking in North Carolina. "The governments given me 'Interstate 40,' and the good Lord's give me a thumb," he sang in "Interstate 40." And there were the sentimental ballets, perhaps best personified in "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye," performed by the likes of the doo-wop group the Casinos, Johnny Cash, and the Everly Brothers. They were all pretty powerful accomplishments for the boy who use to play guitar alongside his mother with the Salvation Army band at Durham's Five Points and who appeared weekly on the "Little Johnny Dee" broadcast on WTIK-AM radio, singing country songs. It was indeed a long road for Loudermilk, the Durham High Class of '54 member pictured with a broad smile and sporting a bow-tie in an image capturing the Diversified Occupations Club in the school's yearbook. And it was not always an easy one. "I'm just sick to my soul of what I was doing,. Not sick of my music, but of the way I was treating it — prostituting it, neglecting it," he wrote in an April 20, 1974, letter to Pete Seeger, the folk singer and social For songwriter extraordinaire, it all started at Five Points Rewind WILSON LIBRARY/UNC-CHAPEL HILL It was the ultimate in-flight entertainment of its day, a late 1950s performance by John D. Loudermilk, singing for Democratic N.C. Gov. Luther H. Hodges, with the entourage en route to New York to promote North Carolina's new Research Triangle. In a 2011 comment on a Wilson Library blog, Loudermilk recalled that the song was "Asiatic Flu." "There is a sneeze that occurs in the song, and the governor knew it was coming and took out his handkerchief and held it over his face, and we all laughed," Loudermilk said.

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