are a pair of brothers who were top-selling
country-influenced rock and roll performers, best known for
their acoustic guitar playing and close harmony singing, who
had their greatest success in the 1950s.
was born Isaac Donald Everly
February 1 1937 in Brownie, a small coal-mining town (now defunct)
near Central City,
Kentucky. Phil Everly was born Philip Everly
January 19, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. The sons of two
Kentucky country musicians, Ike and Margaret Embry Everly,
the Everly Brothers grew up performing with their parents on
live radio and in small-market live shows.
addition to both being competent guitarists, the brothers
used a style of close harmony singing in which each brother
sang a tune that could often stand on its own as a plausible
melody line. This was in contrast to 'classic' harmony lines
which, while working well alongside the melody, would sound
strange if heard by themselves. One of the best examples of
their close-harmony work is their recording of "Devoted To
soft, mainly acoustic guitar backing, sweet close-harmony
vocals, non-threatening lyrics (though arguably containing
much of the same subversion and sexual tension as those of
more controversial artists), and clean-cut white faces, the
Everly Brothers were never perceived as a threat to society
in the way that performers such as Chuck Berry and Little
Richard were. Even so, they are one of rock and roll music's
most important acts because their music helped bridge the
gap between rock and country music in a way that appealed to
fans of both genres. In addition, their approach to harmony
singing influenced nearly every rock and roll group of the
1960s, The Beatles being the most notable example.
Everly Brothers recorded their own first single, "Keep A'
Lovin' Me, " in 1956, under the aegis of Chet Atkins, but it
flopped. However their next single, "Bye Bye Love," (which
had been rejected by 30 other acts, including Elvis Presley)
became an across-the-board smash, reaching #2 on the pop
charts, and #1 on both the Country, and the R & B charts.
The song, written by the songwriting husband and wife team
of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, became their first
soon became known as the stalwarts of Archie Bleyer's
Cadence Records label. They had a hit with the single
"Claudette," written by Roy Orbison. Working with the
Bryants, the harmonic duo had a number of hits in the U.S.
and the UK, the biggest of which were "Wake Up Little
Susie," "All I Have to Do Is Dream," and "Bird Dog."
1960, when they signed with Warner Bros. Records, they
continued to have hits, starting big with 1960's "Cathy's
Clown" which was released as number WB1, the first release
by that company. Other singles followed, such as "Crying In
The Rain" (1963) and "The Ferris Wheel" (from 1964), but the
years after 1962 saw the Everly Brothers become less
commercially viable than before—even as they became
artistically more accomplished. Their enlistment in the
United States Marine Corps in 1963, to meet military
obligations, took them somewhat out of the spotlight
immediately before The Beatles (whose close harmonies were modeled on the Everlys) broke loose in the US and changed
the pop-music landscape.
Following the British Invasion, Everly Brothers recordings
like "Gone, Gone, Gone" (1964) and "The Price Of Love,"
"I'll See Your Light" and "It Only Costs a Dime" (all 1965)
began to reflect many of the changes in popular music they
had, with their earlier work, put into motion. They
recorded, with members of The Hollies contributing songs
such as "So Lonely" and "Don't Run and Hide," a classic
album entitled Two Yanks in England (1966), at the
time somewhat under-appreciated but now considered one of
their best efforts.
1967, "It's All Over," hearkening back to their late-1950s
sound, didn't do as well as the more modern hit "Bowling Green."
In 1968 they recorded another album now regarded as a
classic, Roots, which
featured their own compositions alongside songs by Randy
Newman and others. In short, their mid- and late-'60s
material is considered by many critics and listeners to
compare favourably to that done by The Beatles and
broke up in 1973, but reformed in 1983 with a new album
produced by Dave Edmunds. "On The Wings Of A Nightingale",
written by Paul McCartney for the brothers, became a hit
single in both the US and UK, and their 1983 Reunion Concert
at the Royal Albert Hall in London which was instigated by
English virtuoso guitarist Albert Lee, (who was also the
musical director), resulted in both a well-received CD and
video. They then earned a final charting country-music hit
with "Born Yesterday."
around the same time, Phil enjoyed some success as a
soloist, with an album 'Phil Everly', recorded mainly in
London, and including musicians such as
Dire Straits guitarist
Mark Knopfler, Rockpile drummer Terry Williams, and
evergreen session keyboard player Pete Wingfield. 'She Means
Nothing To Me', featuring Cliff Richard as joint lead
vocalist, was a Top 10 hit, and 'Louise' reached the Top 50.
In 1994 a new recording of "All I Have to Do Is Dream",
featuring Cliff Richard and Phil sharing vocals, was a UK
Top 20 hit.
Everly Brothers have had a total of 26 Billboard Top 40
singles. In 1986 they were among the first 10 artists
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they were
inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Their
pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by
the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The Everly Brothers have a star
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Blvd.
were also accomplished songwriters, penning a number of
their own hits, including "Till I Kissed You" (Don),
"Cathy's Clown" (Don and Phil), and "When Will I Be Loved"
(Phil). "Cathy's Clown" and "When Will I Be Loved" later
became hits for Reba McEntire and Linda Ronstadt,
They still perform occasionally,
despite having declared their retirement from both touring
and the studio more than once. Most notably, they joined
Simon and Garfunkel as the featured act in the Simon and
Garfunkel reunion tour of 2003 and 2004. As a special
tribute to the Everlys, they were not the opening act,
rather Simon and Garfunkel opened their own show and had the
Everlys come out in the middle of the show for four songs.
Everly Brothers Official Website
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