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The Everly Brothers: Don and Phil
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
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.
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
Everyly Brothers, The Biography, http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608001589/Everly-Brothers-The.html
The Everly Brothers Biography http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/The-Everly-Brothers-Biography/B243BA980A41DCC748256DAA0020353B
The Everly Brothers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Everly_Brothers
All Music by Rovi http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-everly-brothers-mn0000046699