The Everly Brothers: Don and Phil

Everly Brothers

This is a signed copy of a promotional shot used by the Everly Brothers around 1958.
This is a signed copy of a promotional shot used by the Everly Brothers around 1958. | Source

Introduction

Ten years old. I was about that age when I first heard the Everyly Brothers. I came home from school one day and heard this song called, "Bye Bye Love", playing on my brother's record player. Two things; one, it was a 45 rpm record playing on a phonograph, and two, I idolized my older brother. Therefore, anything he liked I liked. Well, it just so happened this song was a really good one and was easy to like. It was the Everly Brothers first hit reaching number two on the charts. Not an easy thing to do with Elvis Presley's "Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear" at number one but they made it to number one on the Country Charts!

Who were the Everly Brothers? At that time, I had no idea and to be honest I didn't know a thing about them. I wasn't alone. This was their first big hit, selling a million records!

A little background on Don and Phil

It seems Don and Phil Everly, whose real names were Isaac Donald "Don" Everly, and Phillip "Phil" Everly were actually brothers. Don was the oldest, being born in 1937. Phil was born in 1939. Their father played a steel guitar in country 'honk-tonks'. Don was born in Kentucky, Phil in Chicago but their parents then moved them again, this time to Iowa where their father got a job with a small radio station.

Don and Phil started signing at the ripe old age of six on their father's live radio show, and were known as "Little Donnie" and "Baby Boy Phil." The show soon became known as the "Everly Family Show". They then moved to Indiana and again to Tennessee, Nashville to be exact.

It was here they became friends with Chet Akins, a successful guitarist and record producer. One thing led to another and "Bye Bye Love" was recorded. As their career blossomed with this song, they were asked to sing their song at the Grand Old Opry...now they knew they were stars! Rock n Roll, Country, Rockabilly, they crossed those genres and made it in each of them. Their career was just beginning.

Everly Brothers in Concert

Everly Brothers in concert at Central City, Kentucky
Everly Brothers in concert at Central City, Kentucky | Source

Rise of the Everly Brothers

In 1957 "Wake Up Little Suzie" hit the airwaves. "What're we gonna tell your Momma, What're we gonna tell your Pop...." Kids everywhere were singing the lyrics to "Wake Up Little Suzie". The song hit number one on the charts and stayed there for four weeks!

In 1958 came "All I Have to Do Is Dream". Anyone who lived in that era knows this song and most likely all the words to it. This song became number one and stayed there for five weeks. Their two part harmonies are simply amazing. They sang about young love, who wouldn't relate to that? Remember "Cathy's Clown" or "Walk Right Back"? Can you ever forget "Bird Dog", "Devoted to You" or "When Will I Be Loved"?

Their harmonies and lyrics were timeless. You can still catch people humming or singing their songs today!


FAQs About the Everly Brothers

  • They joined the Marine Corps Reserve, together
  • Studied acting but never made a movie
  • Wake Up Little Suzie was banned in Boston because it was too suggestive
  • Don almost died of a drug overdose in 1962
  • They had a bitter split in 1973
  • In 1983 they got back together again
  • In 1983 they played a concert at Royal Albert Hall in London
  • In 1997 they received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy
  • Both brothers were divorced several times

More on the Everly Brothers

It has been said that their music and style had a direct influence on many artists to come including the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel.

They toured with Buddy Holly and other greats of the time but what I found interesting was they became close friends with Buddy Holly. Phil was a pallbearer at Buddy Holly's funeral but Don was so devastated by Buddy's death he did not even attend the funeral.

In researching I found different accounts about their problems with drugs. Some say it was only Don who had a problem with drugs, others say it was Don and Phil. One source even says that Don was committed to a mental hospital for shock therapy.

After their split, when they reunited, this quote was made public; Phil explained: "Don and I are infamous for our split, but we're closer than most brothers. Harmony singing requires that you enlarge yourself, not use any kind of suppression. Harmony is the ultimate love." The best way to check out those harmonies is to listen to the magnificent harmonies of the Everly Brothers. It's a sound that's been imitated but never totally duplicated.


1964 Everly Brothers Singing "Let it Be Me"

List of Everly Brothers Songs

  • Keep A' Lovin' Me," Columbia, 1956.
  • "Bye, Bye, Love," Cadence, 1957.
  • "Wake Up, Little Susie," Cadence, 1957.
  • "This Little Girl of Mine," Cadence, 1958.
  • "All I Have to Do Is Dream," Cadence, 1958.
  • "Claudette," Cadence, 1958.
  • "Bird Dog," Cadence, 1958.
  • "Devoted to You," Cadence, 1958.
  • "Problems," Cadence, 1958.
  • "Love of My Life," Cadence, 1958.
  • "Take a Message to Mary," Cadence, 1959.
  • "Poor Jenny," Cadence, 1959.
  • "Till I Kissed You," Cadence, 1959.
  • "Let It Be Me," Cadence, 1960.
  • "Be-Bop-a-Lula," Cadence, 1960.
  • "Like Strangers," Cadence, 1960.
  • "Cathy's Clown," Warner Brothers, 1960.
  • "Always It's You," Warner Brothers, 1960.
  • "So Sad," Warner Brothers, 1960.
  • "Lucille," Warner Brothers, 1960.
  • "Walk Right Back," Warner Brothers, 1961.
  • "Ebony Eyes," Warner Brothers, 1961.
  • "Temptation," Warner Brothers, 1961.
  • "Stick With Me, Baby," Warner Brothers, 1961.
  • "Don't Blame Me," Warner Brothers, 1961.
  • "Muskrat," Warner Brothers, 1961.
  • "I'm Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail," Cadence, 1962.
  • "Crying in the Rain," Warner Brothers, 1962.
  • "That's Old-Fashioned," Warner Brothers, 1962.

Conclusion

Music in the sixties would not have been the same without the Everly Brothers!

Over the years there have been various rumors about the death of Don or Phil. Both are alive and well. Though they claim they are retired, they do still occasionally perform. Now in their seventies, they have lived to see their legendary performances carrying on and still appreciated by so many. Their songs live on albums being re-recorded onto CDs. From their start on Cadence Records to the present day, the Everly Brothers' legacy will live on.

If you have never heard the Everly Brothers, its time. You won't be disappointed in their voices, music or songs.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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Comments 41 comments

Justsilvie 3 years ago

I love this Hub! A wonderful tribute to the The Everly Brothers who were one of the first singers I fell in love with. I remember their music was played at our onbase teenclub and I am sure my first slow dance was to one of their songs. I am betting every girl my age listened to "Crying in the Rain" when our small innocent hand holding romances broke up and cried along.

It is wonderful to relive some of those times. Voted up and shared,


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Good facts, Mary! I loved the Everly Brothers.....it was hard to admit that by the mid-60's when rock was so popular, but I was raised by parents who taught me how to harmonize, and I sang in the choir, and I appreciated their talents.


TheKatsMeow profile image

TheKatsMeow 3 years ago from Canada

I grew up listening to classics like "Wake Up Little Suzy", thanks to my dad. Very interesting biography on the Everly Brothers, I learned a lot and voted this Hub up!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Justsilvie, you gotta love 'em! They were the voice of our time.

Bill, their harmony is what made them famous...I know where you're coming from as I, too, sang in the choir.

the KtasMeow glad you learned from my hub. I've always loved the Everly Brothers.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

The specs are off and I am wiping my old sentimental eyes, you sweet thing...

I confess to not knowing or really caring now about these poor dears' tragic drug filled and divorced lives...am I wrong? I LOVE THEM. I was born in 1961 and know each and every song on this list from my brother born in 1946.

Thank you for these wonderful memories, Mary. Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Loved Don & Phil....had all their records! the 45's. Played them over and over. Still like to listen to them. They had to be the hottest duo in our day. Knew quite a bit about them and their bios......but this hub is a great reminder....and everyone knows how I love walks down memory lane........Great article, Til!....UP+++


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

Awesome facts Mary and even though I was born in 1977 knew The Everly Brothers music from my parents. However, I really didn't know much about the history behind them and truly appreciate all the information I learned here!! Have of course voted up and shared, too!!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Oh Maria you sentimental thing you! I actually learned a lot about good old Don and Phil writing this hub. Ahem, your brother is my age!

Oh Effer, of course you like memory lane, its such a warm and fuzzy place and you're such a warm and fuzzy! Glad you enjoyed.

Janine, I think everybody knows the Everly Brothers...their songs are just so good and nobody sings those songs like Don and Phil!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you so much for this. I am an Everly brother fan. Every once in a while I post them on my FB wall.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Loved the Everly Brothers and this was such an informative article. I'll be back again and again to listen to the music. Wonderful!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 3 years ago from Southern Georgia

Loved this string of memories.

SSSSS


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

MH how nice we share the appreciation of the great works of Don and Phil.

Oh how nice Peg!

Great Randy...


kohuether profile image

kohuether 3 years ago from New Hampshire

I remember the Everly Brothers! Their music is so fun. This was a lovely tribute.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I have them on my ipod love their music. I played songs like this so much when my granddaughter was with me in the car, this is the type of music she had at her wedding reception early in the evening when the old folks were still there. Her husband just rolls his eyes when she puts the oldies on. My favorite Ebony Eyes and Kathy's Clown.

Voted up and shared.


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

Terrific hub on such talented singers. I love the old music. It's what I listen to now. I didn't know either one had drug problems. I didn't know they split up. I am glad to have grown up with their music.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

I've always loved the Everly Brothers music. Good to see this article about them. I never knew anything about them either 'til reading this! I do wonder though, did they write their own music? Often the most successful performers do, because it's hard to get a string of hits when you can't control the end product. Just wondering . . .

Excellent hub as always. Voted up, interesting and useful. Will share.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I was just a little girl in the 50's, but I grew up with these guys. I do still remember the words. It's amazing!


seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 3 years ago

I too grew up to the sound of the Everley brothers. I was born in 1955 but their hits of the 50's were still massive in the early sixties. They had another phenomenal rise in th 80's and their records were selling for top prices in the vintage record shops in the UK. Voted up and damned interesting. Ok I have to settle for plain old interesting.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I think I've seen their episode of Biography. If I remember right, Axl Rose was married to Don or Phil's daughter Erin.

Anyway, I think they are easily up there with Hall and Oates, Sam and Dave, and so many more as one of the greatest duos to make music. And the fact that they're brothers is even more amazing.

Thanks for another awesome music hub!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Oh my gosh, I remember these brothers and how much my sisters loved them! Wake Up Little Suzy was played constantly when it was a hit -- even beyond! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 3 years ago

hmmmm...i kinda like the names 'Little Donny' and 'Baby boy Phil'! It kinda...rolls, doncha think? cute with just enough 'mafia'...lol..

You brought back happy/sad memories with this one Mary! i wasn't born until 60, which means i was in-and OUT-utero listening to these boys..lol..

Love the bits of information that i had no idea of!

"I bless the day i found you...."la, la, la...mmmmmm....

I hope you had a wonderful and peaceful new year, dear - and that it continues throughout 2013 and onward!


europewalker profile image

europewalker 3 years ago

"All I Have to Do Is Dream" is my favorite song by the Everly Brothers. Whenever I hear that song it takes me back to my childhood. Terrific hub, voted up and awesome.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Katherine, it was fun to write.

Moonlake my kids grew up listening to this music too because I was always playing it.

WND I was surprised by the drug issues too. I am glad we had their music.

Au fait, they didn't write their own lyrics. Most were written by the same man, who died in the eighties.

Me too Austinstar.

Senorjohn I'll settle for plain old interesting!

Alecia, you are right..I didn't know about Axel Rose. The Everly Brothers are certainly one of the best dous ever!

Teaches, only too happy to take you down memory lane.

IM, seems you certainly know you EB songs! ...I'd be unhappy if you were blue...things have gotten off to a rough start for 2013 here...hope yours is better for sure.

Europewalker, thanks for the visit..your votes are appreciated.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

Thank you for this hub and especially for the video. I think that song is one of the most beautiful songs ever. The harmonies are incredible. They have certainly had their troubles, but I have always enjoyed the Everly Bros.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You are so welcome Glimmer. I'm glad remembering them has brought so much joy to my fellow hubbers!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Mary, I love 'em. My grandmother lived in the same street as me when i was a kind and back in the late 60s every Sunday someone in our street would perch their speakers on the windowsill and fill the street (it was a 'close' a little cul-de-sac) with music. my Nana always played the Everly Brothers and I would sit on her fence and listen to them : o) This hub brought back some lovely memories for me.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

What lovely memories Jools! Thanks for sharing.


CarNoobz profile image

CarNoobz 3 years ago from USA

Oh man. When I was a kid I always loved sleeping over at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Janet's house. We'd all stay up all night listening to their collection of oldies cassettes (one of those mail order sets with MILLIONS of songs or whatever).

And the Everly Bros were one of my favorites. Great harmonies. Catchy, pop tunes. I wish my son grew up on clean stuff like that instead of all the violence-porn-drugs songs that are everywhere today.

Voted up


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I know what you mean CarNoobz, we can only hope music comes around to make sense. There are some good sounds out there, you just have to find them. Thanks for the vote!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

I have always loved the Everly Brothers. I am glad to hear they are still alive and doing well. I had not heard anything about them in a long time. "Wake Up Little Suzie" was banned, just think about the crap we hear now! This is a great hub, I really enjoyed it. You brought back a lot of good memories! Voting up and more! :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I know, imagine "Wake Up Little Suzie" being banned? Kids today would definitely be laughing at that one. What scares me is they're in their seventies...not that far from my age! Thanks for the votes and more.


stars439 profile image

stars439 3 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful hub. The Everly Brothers are awesome. Thank you for the look into their music lives. They are awesome talents, and you're review is superb. GBY dear heart.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I am delighted that you enjoyed my hub so much Stars! Thank you so much for the lovely comment.


Hubert Williams 3 years ago

Mary, I love their music. My mother used to sing Wake Up Little Susie a lot. Let It Be Be was always my favorite. Great hub. Thanks. I'll read more of your hubs later. A lot of catching up to do.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

It is so nice to see you here Hubert...I am glad you enjoyed this hub...I really enjoyed their music too...I will stop by your hubs later too!


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Not of my generation, but this was a duo I am so familiar with because my guitarist dad used to play this in the car every time we went out. Thanks for sharing, and I am passing the legacy of the Everlys on by sharing your hub!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Glad your Dad introduced you....they are certainly "Evergreen" Michelle. Thanks for the share.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Back to visit these brothers again and loving the memories. "Walk Right Back" was one of my favorites in the day. And "Cathy's Clown".


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

"Bring your love don't send it!" Great song to say the least. Both songs are tear jerkers but touch the heart. Thanks for reading AGAIN!!!


FireCracker 2 years ago

The video would have been later in the 1980s rather than 1964. The voices, the hair and the extra weight on Don are the tells.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

True FireCracker but the earlier video was pulled. Hope you enjoyed.

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