NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) – Don Everly, half of the pioneering Everly Brothers whose harmonizing country rock hits impacted a generation of rock and roll music, has passed away. He was 84 years old.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a family spokesperson said Everly died at her home in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday. Her brother, Phil Everly, died in January 2014 at the age of 74.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, the Don and Phil duo drew on their rural roots with their strummed guitars and high, fiery harmonies, while poignant songs – many by the team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant – embodied the hustle and bustle and energy of teenagers. Their 19 best hits included “Bye Bye Love”, “Let It Be Me”, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Wake Up Little Susie”, and artists from the Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel cited them as key influences. . .
“The Everly Brothers are an integral part of America’s musical fabric,” Jerry Lee Lewis said in a statement. “With the passing of my friend Don, I reflect… on a life full of wonderful friends, spectacular music and fond memories. There’s a lot I can say about Don, what he and Phil meant to me both as people and as musicians, but I’m going to reflect today.
Songs like “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie” attracted the post-war baby boom generation, and their deceptively simple harmonies hid greater significance among the lighter pop dishes of the world. ‘era.
The two broke up in the middle of a feud in 1973 after 16 successful years, then reunited in 1983, “sealing it with a hug,” Phil Everly said.
Although their number of hit records declined in the late 1980s, they had successful concert tours in the United States and Europe.
They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the same year they recorded a successful pop-country record, “Born Yesterday”. Two years earlier, they had had success with the rhythmic ballad “On the Wings of a Nightingale”, written by Paul McCartney.
“As a singer, songwriter and guitar innovator, Don Everly was one of the most talented and defining artists in popular music history,” said Kyle Young, CEO of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, in a press release. The brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Don Everly was born in Brownie, Kentucky, to Ike and Margaret Everly, who were singers of folk and country music. Phil Everly was born to the couple in Chicago, where the Everlys moved from Brownies when Ike got tired of working in the coal mines.
The brothers began singing country music in 1945 on their family’s radio show in Shenandoah, Iowa.
Their career breakthrough came when they moved to Nashville in the mid-1950s and signed a recording contract with New York-based Cadence Records.
Their breakup came in a dramatic fashion during a concert at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. Phil Everly threw his guitar on the ground and walked away, prompting Don Everly to tell the crowd, “The Everly Brothers died 10 years ago.”
Disputes between the brothers even went to court, when Don Everly sued Phil Everly’s heirs in 2017 for the copyrights of three of their songs, including “Cathy’s Clown.” The case went to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal.
But after Phil’s death in 2014, Don said he felt a spiritual message from his brother before his death.
“Our love was and always will be deeper than any earthly differences we could have had,” Don Everly said in a 2014 statement.
Although they were separated, they pursued a career as a solo singer with little success. Phil also appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 1978 film “Every Which Way but Loose”. Don recorded a few records with friends in Nashville, performed at local nightclubs, played guitar, and sang backing vocals at recording sessions.
Don Everly said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1986 that he and his brother were successful because “we never followed the trends. We did what we loved and followed our instincts. Rock and roll survived, and we were right. The country survived, and we were right about it. You can mix the two, but people said we can’t.
Decades later, their impact on popular music is still evident. In 2013, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones released a loving tribute to the Everly’s on their collaborative album “Foreverly”.