Phil Everly, musical brother was 74 (video) *

Updated here and there

everly-brothers.jpgPhil Everly of the Everly Brothers, the influential duo that became one of the first ten groups inducted into the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died today in Burbank at age 74. He had been battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “We are absolutely heartbroken,” his wife Patti told the LA Times this evening. “He fought long and hard.” His older brother, Don, survives.

"They had that sibling sound," Linda Ronstadt, whose hit "When Will I Be Loved" was written by Phil Everly, told Randy Lewis of the Times. "The information of your DNA is carried in your voice, and you can get a sound [with family] that you never get with someone who’s not blood related to you. And they were both such good singers--they were one of the foundations, one of the cornerstones of the new rock 'n' roll sound."

The Everly Brothers sound profoundly influenced "the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Byrds and countless younger-generation rock, folk and country singers," Lewis writes in an early obit.

During the height of their popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s, they charted nearly three dozen hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, among them “Cathy’s Clown,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.”

Phil Everly was a pallbearer at the 1959 funeral of Buddy Holly, per Wikipedia. Yes they have been around a long time. A 1961 live performance in the U.K.:

Says the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

The gentle, silken harmonies of the Everly Brothers were one of the musical treasures of the 1950s and a major influence on the music of the 1960s. The duo of Don and Phil Everly drew upon Appalachian folk, bluegrass and country to craft a dreamy, innocent style of rock and roll. Their father, Ike Everly, was an accomplished guitarist. He and his wife Margaret had their sons performing regularly on their live radio show before they had reached their teens. With Don taking the melody and Phil harmonizing above him, the Everlys sang with flawless precision. Over the decades, the Everlys’ close-harmony style served to influence the likes of the Beatles, the Hollies, Simon and Garfunkel and the Byrds.

The AP obit summarizes and talks about the breakup of the Everly Brothers in 1973. They reunited ten years later with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, followed by a record and tour. From AP:

Phil and Don Everly helped draw the blueprint of rock 'n' roll in the late 1950s and 1960s with a high harmony that captured the yearning and angst of a nation of teenage baby boomers looking for a way to express themselves beyond the simple platitudes of the pop music of the day.

The Beatles, early in their career, once referred to themselves as "the English Everly Brothers." And Bob Dylan once said, "We owe these guys everything. They started it all."

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Their breakup came dramatically during a concert at Knott's Berry Farm in California. Phil Everly threw his guitar down and walked off, prompting Don Everly to tell the crowd, "The Everly Brothers died 10 years ago."

During their breakup, they pursued solo singing careers with little fanfare. Phil also appeared in the Clint Eastwood movie "Every Which Way but Loose." Don made a couple of records with friends in Nashville, performed in local nightclubs and played guitar and sang background vocals on recording sessions.

A video about the Everly Brothers made by Mark Knopfler for the Country Music Hall of Fame:


This is billed on YouTube as an unreleased version of "When Will I Be Loved."


The Everly Brothers have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Blvd.

Phil Everly was also the head of the Everly Music Company, a manufacturer of guitars and strings in North Hollywood.

Everly signing on "In My Room" with Bill Medley and Brian Wilson. I don't know where:

* Updates:

Don Everly in Nashville said he got a feeling just before he heard the news. AP:

‘‘I was listening to one of my favorite songs that Phil wrote and had an extreme emotional moment just before I got the news of his passing,’’ Don Everly wrote in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday morning. ‘‘I took that as a special spiritual message from Phil saying goodbye. Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had.’’

From Randall Roberts' appreciation in the LA Times:

Love hurts, and few American pop singers have conveyed the teenage depths of that despair as well as Phil Everly...


These songs weren't delivered by two bumpkins with a backwoods band. The early hits, many chosen with the help of Wesley Rose of country publishing powerhouse Acuff-Rose, featured Nashville guitarist and production master Chet Atkins and the brilliant session man Floyd Cramer on piano. Deep listening reveals so many amazing musical textures and micro-moments that you realize that the Everlys were a perfectly honed meeting of hit making and song craft -- and the embodiment of a notion that Nashville had been driving toward through much of the 1950s.

Listening to those songs now, you can't help but imagine teenaged Liverpudlians Paul McCartney and John Lennon absorbing the Everly way around a phrase, or George Harrison practicing Atkins' and Sonny Curtis' subtle runs.

Their recordings offer a portal to avowed super-fans Simon & Garfunkel rehearsing the close harmonies of "Susie" in Queens. Robert Zimmerman of northern Minnesota has acknowledged that before changing his name to Dylan and moving east, he was Everly-educated in how a line pared to the bone and delivered with tenor-high longing could upend hearts and minds.

Phil’s voice in particular delivered words with a desire just this side of innocence. Love was an exciting, mysterious emotion, but dangerous.

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Deep listening reveals so many amazing musical textures and micro-moments that you realize that the Everlys were a perfectly honed meeting of hit making and song craft -- and the embodiment of a notion that Nashville had been driving toward through much of the 1950s....Volumes could be spent honoring Phil and Don's harmonies. Digging through their collected works [is] revisiting an America on the verge of a grand shift.

Carole King, who co-wrote with Gerry Goffin the Everly Brothers' 1962 hit "Crying in the Rain," said via Twitter: "So sad to lose Phil Everly. Deepest condolences to his family."

Paul Simon in email to the New York Times: "Phil and Don were the most beautiful sounding duo I ever heard."

Jon Pareles obit in the NYT:

Among musicians the Everlys had generations of admirers. The Beatles included Everly Brothers songs in their live sets and modeled the vocal harmonies of “Please Please Me” on “Cathy’s Clown.” The Beach Boys recorded the Everlys song “Devoted to You.” Linda Ronstadt had a Top 10 hit with “When Will I Be Loved” in 1975. On his four-album set “These Days” in 2006, the country songwriter Vince Gill recorded a duet with Phil Everly, “Sweet Little Corinna,” that paid homage to the early Everlys sound.


Simon and Garfunkel included “Bye Bye Love” on their “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album, and years later brought together the Everly Brothers to be their opening act for their 2003 “Old Friends” tour. The brothers reportedly had not spoken to each other for three years before that.

“Personally I loved them both,” Mr. Simon wrote. “Phil was outgoing, gregarious and very funny. Don is quiet and introspective. When Simon and Garfunkel toured with the Everlys in 2003, Art and I would take the opportunity to learn about the roots of Rock and Roll from these two great historians. It was a pleasure to spend time in their company.”

Somebody posted the entire 1983 reunion concert at Royal Albert Hall. It's good:



Personal note: In November, Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day released an album covering Everly Brothers songs. I received it as a gift for Christmas and completely love it. They do "Long Time Gone:"


Also in 2013, the Chapin Sisters put out an album of Everly Brothers songs. "All I Have to Do is Dream:"



More by Kevin Roderick:
George Skelton observes 40 years of change in Sacramento
Trailer: 'The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon'
Phil Everly, musical brother was 74 (video) *
Friday news briefs and desk clearing
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