News / Arts & Entertainment

Phil Everly, of the Everly Brothers, Dies at Age 74

FILE - The Everly Brothers, Phil, left, and Don, perform on stage, July 31, 1964.
FILE - The Everly Brothers, Phil, left, and Don, perform on stage, July 31, 1964.
Reuters
Phil Everly, whose high, close-harmony singing with his older brother Don made the Everly Brothers one of the biggest rock and country acts of the 1950s and early 1960s, died on Friday at the age of 74, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Everly died in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his wife Patti told the Times for a story on the paper's website.

"We are absolutely heartbroken," Patti Everly told the paper. "He fought long and hard." Representatives for Phil Everly could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday evening.

The Everly Brothers profoundly influenced 1960s-era artists ranging from Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who early in their careers called themselves the Foreverly Brothers, to Simon and Garfunkel, the Byrds, the Hollies and the Beach Boys.

"Perhaps even more powerfully than Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers melded country with the emerging sound of Fifties rock & roll," Rolling Stone magazine said in placing the duo at No. 33 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists."

Phil and Don had an onstage breakup in 1973 that led to a decade-long estrangement, but Phil later told Time magazine their relationship had endured.

"Don and I are infamous for our split," Phil said, "but we're closer than most brothers. Harmony singing requires that you enlarge yourself, not use any kind of suppression. Harmony is the ultimate love."

Phillip Everly was born on Jan. 19, 1939, in Chicago, the son of two country musicians, Ike and Margaret Everly. With Ike Everly on guitar, the family was a traveling act and had a radio show in which Phil and Don performed between commercials for XIP rat poison and Foster's 30-minute Wonder Corn and Callus Remover.

Legendary Nashville guitarist Chet Atkins was one of their earliest supporters.

"One thing that impressed me when I met those kids was that they were so intelligent," Atkins said on the Everly family fan site. "Don and Phil used proper English and I just thought they were a cut above ... intellectually and education-wise."

'Every Syllable can shine'

Their breakthrough hit, Bye Bye Love, came in 1957 and rose to No. 2 on the U.S. charts. It was their first million-seller and the first of numerous Everly tunes written by Boudleaux Bryant and his wife Felice, including, All I Have to Do Is Dream, Wake Up Little Susie and Devoted to You.

Wake Up Little Susie, also released in 1957, was their first No. 1 hit. A song about two teenagers falling asleep at the drive-in theater and waking up long after curfew, it was banned in Boston for its ever-so slightly suggestive lyrics.

In 1960 the brothers signed with a new record label, Warner Bros., agreeing to a 10-year, $1 million contract and making their debut with their own song, Cathy's Clown, but by then their career was in decline.

The Beatles may have led to the clean-cut brothers' undoing in the tumultuous 1960s, but they were on a downward path at least a year before the Fab Four exploded on the scene, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which inducted the Everlys in 2001.

"They broke with [record producer] Wesley Rose in 1961, moved to California, and began making singles that were probably too experimental for the time," it said, also citing a slowdown in touring and a loss of access to the Bryants' songs due to a split with music publishing firm Acuff-Rose.

But the songs lived on through some of the biggest acts of the era including Simon and Garfunkel, who recorded Bye Bye Love on their 1970 hit album, Bridge over Troubled Water, Art Garfunkel told Rolling Stone that the brothers' harmonizing had taught him that "every syllable can shine."

"They were Kentucky guys with beautiful, perfect-pitch harmonies and great diction. All those vowels and consonants, those s's and t's, every one of them killed me," he said.

In 1973, with both suffering health and stress problems from  years of touring, the Everlys broke up during a concert at Knott's Berry Farm amusement park in Buena Park, California.

"Phil Everly threw his guitar down and stormed off the stage during a performance of 'Cathy's Clown,' leaving Don to tell the stunned audience the group was finished," Rolling Stone said.

In September of 1983, after a decade of solo projects, they reunited for a show at London's Royal Albert Hall. Backed by a rock-solid band that included Albert Lee on guitar, the brothers drew critical acclaim, and the concert yielded an album and a DVD.

The Everlys released EB 84 in 1984 to more acclaim and scored a minor hit with the album's On the Wings of a Nightingale, written for them by Paul McCartney.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: CArl hemdrick from: Carl Hendricks
January 04, 2014 9:37 PM
A. Apish on the rc

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Hamilton Live: Dustbowl Revivali
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
September 02, 2015 12:19 PM
Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."

Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."