On Friday, Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers died at the age of 74 in a Burbank, California, hospital of complications brought on by chronic pulmonary disease caused by smoking, according to his wife, Patti Everly. The harmonies of Phil Everly and his brother, Don, became popular hits during the 1950s and 60s.Besides his wife, Phil is survived by his son, Jason.
Patti Everly expressed her feelings of being heartbroken, saying that her husband fought against his illness “long and hard.”
The Everly Brothers were rock and roll pioneers, and their harmonies had a major influence on many other early rockers, like the Beach Boys, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkle, Bob Dylan and The Beatles.
The songs of Phil and Don Everly inspired not just one, but several, generations of musicians. During their heyday, from 1957-62, the duo had 19 top 40 hits, and in the decades of the 1950s-60s, they had aroud three dozen records make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The hit songs of the Everly Brothers have been used in countless TV series and movies, including the tV series Happy Days and the Steven Speilberg movie, American Grafitti, and they have been covered by artists like Linda Rondstadt and others.
What were some of the iconic hits that made the Everly Brothers so popular?
Once you heard a song by the Everly Brothers, it would become ingrained in your memory because of the catchy memorable lyrics, rhythmic melodies, and high, sweet harmonies. Phil and Don Everly’s hit tunes included Cathy’s Clown, Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have to Do Is Dream, and Bye Bye Love.
In 1975, Linda Ronstadt had one of her biggest hits with a song that Phil Everly wrote, When Will I Be Loved. She was easily able to relate to the songs of the Everly Brothers, as she grew up in Tucson, Arizona, singing, harmonizing and honing her craft with her family members.
Ronstadt described The Everly Brothers as being “one of the foundations, one of the cornerstones of the new rock ‘n’ roll sound.”
Phil Everly and his brother, Don, helped to shape and mold the new style of music called rock and roll. Their lyrics spoke to their fans, as it blasted out of their car radios and jukeboxes. Many of their songs became popular to dance to at high school proms, also.
The Everly Brothers were among the very first performers ever to be voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their many contributions to the genre.
The AP even noted that, early on in their careers, The Beatles sometimes liked to refer to themselves as being “the English Everly Brothers.” Bob Dylan, according to the AP, said that rock ‘n’ rollers owed “everything” to The Everly Brothers. He said: They started it all.”
The Everly Brothers had a five-decade-long career, though from 1973-1983, the duo performed separately.
Phil Everly, not only the world of music, but the world, will be a little less bright, a little less rocking, without you. Rest in peace, and may your music keep on influencing future generations of musicians everywhere. Give a listen to The Everly Brothers live in England on tour singing Bye Bye Love below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb
The Everly Brothers On Tour In England “Bye Bye Love”