HomeEntertainmentMusicLuke Bryan Tributes Larry Willoughby After Songwriter Passes From COVID-19

Luke Bryan Tributes Larry Willoughby After Songwriter Passes From COVID-19

by Jennifer Shea
Jason Davis/Getty Images for ACM

Country singer Luke Bryan lost a friend and champion to Covid-19 this week.

Luke Bryan Remembers Larry Willoughby

Bryan memorialized singer-songwriter Larry Willoughby in an Instagram post on Thursday, saying he owed his career to Willoughby, who died of complications from the coronavirus.

In addition to being a singer-songwriter, Willoughby was also the vice president of A&R at Capitol Records.

“This guy believed in me and rolled the dice on a goofy boy from Georgia,” Bryan said. “[Willoughby] was very key and critical in getting me my record deal at Capitol Records. He passed away today due to COVID. He was a great artist, songwriter and a hell of an song guy. Thank you for believing in me Larry Willoughby. You will be missed. I love you buddy.”

Willoughby released one album in 1984, Building Bridges, and then released three singles from that. The title track was the only one of Willoughby’s singles to reach the Top 60 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Brooks & Dunn covered it in 2006, and their take on the song hit No. 4 on the Hot Country Singles chart.

Moreover, the Oak Ridge Boys, Waylon Jennings and Rodney Crowell have all recorded songs Willoughby wrote. 

Protection Against the Coronavirus

Meanwhile, if he didn’t know it already, Willoughby’s death will likely drive home for Bryan the advantages of getting a coronavirus vaccine.

And in fact, Bryan’s mother LeClaire recently shared her experience getting a vaccine on Instagram.

Last Friday, she posted a photo of herself in the passenger seat of a car, taking the vaccine in her right arm at a drive-through clinic.

“My old butt just got my Covid-19 vaccination,” she wrote. “Yea good luck to all. God bless everyone.”

Two vaccines are currently available to a limited subset of Americans. One is the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, which proved to be 95% effective in Phase 3 clinical trials. It is administered two times, three weeks apart. 

It is important to get both doses, stressed Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. It takes two of them to boost the immune system’s response. 

“The concern is that after a single dose, people would think ‘I’m home free.’ That would be the wrong message,” Poland said.

The other vaccine is the Moderna vaccine, which has been shown to be 94% effective. It also requires two shots, which are given 28 days apart.

The Moderna vaccine has one advantage over the Pfizer vaccine: it only needs to be stored at minus 4 degrees Farenheit, which is similar to an average freezer, NPR reports. The Pfizer vaccine, by contrast, must be kept at minus 76 degrees Farenheit.

Whichever vaccine Bryan’s mother got, she’ll need to be sure to return for her second dose of it if she is to avoid a fate like Willoughby’s.