Don and Phil Everly started out singing as part of The Everly Family on a radio program in Iowa. When the family moved to Tennessee, Don and Phil transitioned out of the family act and into a duo.
If you think the Everly Brothers are just old-school crooners in a time when music was vanilla as vanilla ice cream, you’d be sorely mistaken. Everything we call country rock today has stemmed from the Everly Brothers’ influence.
They were the Beatles’ Beatles, gods for Simon & Garfunkel, and the wave the Beach Boys rode in on.
“Cathy’s Clown,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” and “Be-Bop-A-Lula” are among the Everly Brother’s 35 Top 100 songs, more than any other duo.
“Wake Up, Little Susie” was a bit controversial for the time because naysayers thought the song was too sexual. The song was banned on radio stations in Boston and other part of the country.
Not only were the Everly Brothers popular in the United States, they were just as successful in Britain, thus the connection to the Beatles. In the U.K. they had 30 chart singles, 29 in the top 40, 13 top 10 and 4 at No. 1 between 1957 and 1984.
Accolades and Tributes
Rolling Stone has labeled them “the most important vocal duo in rock.” They have been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame.
Three Everly Brothers tribute albums were released in 2013, including Norah Jones and Billy Joe Armstrong’s “Foreverly.” There have also been several famous covers of their songs including Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s version of “Gone Gone Gone” off the “Raising Sand” album, Reba McEntire’s “Cathy’s Clown,” and a-ha’s “Crying In the Rain.”
Although their influence runs deep through today’s music, the main reason you should add the Everly Brothers' music to your playlist is their harmony. It’s beautiful, soothing, and graceful, the perfect background for just about any day of the year.