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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs

African Music Treasures