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Poignant letter is filled with words of encouragement for her 22-year-old self

Hank Cochran: Country songwriter best known for Patsy Cline's hit 'I Fall to Pieces'

With over 500 recorded songs, Hank Cochran was a prolific and successful country-music writer. He rarely strayed from country music but "I Fall to Pieces" and "Make the World Go Away" became standards known the world over. He had considerable integrity and he would say, "I would rather have a friend than a hit."

Bobby Hebb: Singer-songwriter whose hit single 'Sunny' became one of the most-covered songs of all time

Since its release in 1966, millions have enjoyed Bobby Hebb's soulful composition "Sunny", and the hundreds of cover versions by the likes of Cher, Georgie Fame, José Feliciano, Ella Fitzgerald, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield and Stevie Wonder, as well as more unlikely renditions by Boney M, Robert Mitchum and Leonard Nimoy. In 1990, BMI, the US performing-rights organisation of composers, listed "Sunny" as the 18th most-performed song from its catalogue, and it remains in the Top 25 two decades on.

Nashville: My new spiritual home

Last time I went to Nashville it was in the 1980s and I couldn’t see any way past the Randy Travis tea towels and the Dollywood-ification of the place.

Caught in the Net - New Yorkers set for a dreamy debut

In 2008, I wrote in this column about Violens. The New York four-piece had put out a fine EP of droning guitars, psychedelic sounds and dreamy harmonies, but I subsequently lost track of them.

Woman killed by lightning strike as fiancé proposes

Richard Butler wanted his girlfriend to think they were just taking a scenic hike in the North Carolina mountains, but he had a secret plan. When they got to the top, he was going to pull out a ring and ask her to be his bride. Then lightning struck – three times.

Lightning kills US woman before fiance proposed

Richard Butler wanted his girlfriend to think they were just taking a scenic hike in the North Carolina mountains, but he had a secret plan. When they got to the top, he planned to pull out a ring and ask her to be his bride.

28 killed in US storms

Rescuers using boats and jet-skis plucked stranded residents from their flooded homes today as the death toll from weekend storms in the US rose to 28 in three states.

Russia places freeze on adoptions by Americans

Moscow demands bilateral foster agreement after boy 'returned' by US mother

Adopted boy 'threatened to burn family's house down'

Russia is furious at orphan's return, alone on a plane, but his US 'grandmother' talks of a reign of terror

To Russia without love

Diplomatic incident as American woman who adopted orphaned boy sends him home alone to Moscow

Album: Harper Simon, Harper Simon (Tulsi Records)

For all its alluring qualities, there's something slightly discomfiting about this debut offering from Paul Simon's son, Harper.

Rupert Cornwell: Farewell to Davy Crockett – and the wild frontier

Out of America: When Fess Parker died in California last week, part of an innocent, earlier era passed with him

Album: The Features, Some Kind of Salvation (Serpents & Snakes)

Should you give the Features a chance because they are Kings of Leon's favourite band, as well as the first act signed to their fledgling label?

Carl Smith: Country singer who made the charts every year from 1951 to 1973

One of the most successful country stars of the 1950s, Carl Smith enjoyed a string of hits, including "If Teardrops Were Pennies", "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way", "Are You Teasing Me", "Loose Talk" and "Deep Water", that saw him appearing in the country charts every year from 1951 to 1973.

William Eggleston 21st Century, Victoria Miro Gallery, London

Another kind of American beauty
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Ross Burden pictured in 2002
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A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
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Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
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If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
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Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
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The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
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New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
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The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

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It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

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Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
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Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried