In my current state, it would almost certainly have escaped my notice, but for my dear friend Ellen who sent me an email to let me know that Don Everly, the older of the two Everly Brothers, had just died on Saturday at the age of 84. He was preceded in death by his brother and musical partner, Phil, who died in 2014, sixteen days before he would have turned 75.
I well remember listening to the Everly Brothers as a child and during my early teen years. They began writing and recording their own music in 1956, and their first hit song came in 1957, with Bye Bye Love, written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. The song hit #2 in the spring of 1957, and additional hits would follow through 1958, many of them written by the Bryants, including Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have to Do Is Dream, and Problems. In 1960, they signed with the major label Warner Bros. Records and recorded Cathy’s Clown, written by the brothers themselves, which was their biggest selling single.
The Everly Brothers charted 31 singles on the Hot 100, including three #1s: Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have to Do Is Dream, and Cathy’s Clown. The latter was the first single to top the US and UK charts simultaneously. The Everly Brothers’ career slumped in their home country in the wake of the British Invasion in 1964. However they retained a faithful following in countries including Canada, Australia and the UK. They scored nine Top 40 hits in the UK between 1963 and 1965, including the self-penned The Price Of Love.
The Everly Brothers ended their partnership in 1973 after a gig on July 14, 1973, at Knotts Berry Farm in California, at which Phil smashed his guitar and stormed off the stage. Embarking on a solo career, Phil charted three times as a solo artist with the #37 peaking Who’s Gonna Keep Me Warm being his biggest hit. He also had a Top Ten entry in 1983 on the UK singles chart with She Means Nothing To Me, a duet with Cliff Richard. The brothers reunited in 1983, when they appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The concert spawned a well-received live LP and video.
The Everly Brothers were part of the first group of ten artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Rather than a single song and set of lyrics, I shall post a few of their most popular songs as a tribute to a fine duo whose music will live on.
All I Have to do is Dream (1958) Charted at #1 in both the U.S. and UK
Cathy’s Clown (1960) Charted at #1 in both the U.S. and UK
Wake Up Little Susie (1957) Charted at #1 in the U.S. and #2 in the UK
Bye Bye Love (1957) Charted at #2 in the U.S. and #6 in the UK