Phil Everly from the famous Everly Brothers had died at 74. His wife Patti Everly reported to the L.A. Times that Phil had died in Burbank, California after a long battle with a pulmonary disease brought on by lifelong cigarette smoking. Patti said that the Phil had fought hard and his death was heart breaking.
Phil along with brother Don Everly created one of the 1960’s most popular pop duo. The Everly Brothers had almost three dozens hits on the charts from the 1950’s to the 1960’s including notable songs such as, “Cathy’s Clown,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “Bye Bye Love.” The Everly brothers were among the first artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shortly after it’s creation in the mid-80’s.
Their harmonic blending of vocals could be heard to influence such bands as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and the Byrds. The Everly Brothers influence would reach decades into the future generations of musicians. Phil Everly also wrote hits for other major artists including Linda Ronstadt’s mega hit, “When Will I Be Loved.” Ronstadt said that Phil and Don Everly were able to create the magic and tonal beauties of harmonies that can only be achieved by sibling singers. She pointed out that the genetic match of their singing voices were what created their incredible sound. She went on to say that the Everly Brothers were the foundation of rock and roll music.
The Everly Brothers were considered the pioneers of blending country and pop music. Born of country musician parents, Ike and Beverly Everly, the brothers began performing at a young age. Phil was 10 years old when he first took the stage on the family’s radio show that was broadcast in Shenandoah, Iowa in 1949. Phil was born Jan. 19, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois and along with brother Don were engulfed in a household of music. Their vocal styling was an emulation of such country greats as the Blue Sky Boys and the Monroe Brothers. However, the Everly Brothers would take the lessons learned from the country music of the time and begin a new sound by creating a hybrid of country and pop.
As young boys the brothers close harmonies stood out as the focus of their talent. Executive Director Robert Santelli of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles said that the Everly Brothers vocal harmonies were the passing link from the great doo wop groups to the folk groups of the 60’s. Santelli said that they illustrated to musicians such as Elvis Presley, Simon and Garfunkel and the Beatles that smooth harmonic singing mixed with pop music could create a sound that would dominate the music industry.
By 1970 Phil and Don Everly had a media frenzied falling out followed by a bitter split. The brother would not reconcile until 1983 with the release of new material and a tour.
Phil Everly is survived by his wife Patti, brother Don, sons Jason and Chris and two granddaughters. At age 74 the death of Phil Everly begins the year with its first great musical loss. It is reported that funeral services will be private.
By Anthony Clark