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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”