(Reuters) – Don Everly, whose vocals in close harmony with his brother, Phil, generated dreamy and chart-topping hits on teen romance in the late 50s and early 60s and bands influenced from the Beatles to Simon and Garfunkel, has passed away, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday. He was 84 years old.
Everly, whose hits with her brother included “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Bye Bye Love,” died at her home in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, a family spokesperson told the newspaper. Her brother died in 2014 at the age of 74.
The New York Times once described the brothers’ voices as “drenched in country sugar,” and it was said that “if they sing country in heaven then chances are the angels are ringing. like the Everly Brothers ”.
“Perhaps even more powerfully than Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers merged country with the emerging sound of 1950s rock & roll,” Rolling Stone magazine said, placing the brothers 33rd on its list of ” 100 greatest artists “.
The Everly’s success waned in the 1960s amid the advent of rock on guitar, sibling tensions, and drug problems. They separate for 10 years but their harmonies prove to be timeless.
Isaac Donald “Don” Everly was born February 1, 1937 in Brownie, Kentucky, the son of two country musicians, Ike and Margaret Everly. Phil was born two years later and they were still boys at the start of their musical careers.
With Ike Everly on guitar, the family was a traveling band and had their own radio show, in which Don and his younger brother sang between commercials for XIP rat poison and Foster’s 30-minute Wonder Corn and Callus Remover.
In the mid-1950s, the brothers set out on their own and their groundbreaking hit, “Bye Bye Love,” was released in 1957, reaching No. 2 on the American Billboard pop charts. It was the first of many Everly tracks written by Boudleaux Bryant and his wife, Felice, including “All I Have to Do Is Dream”, “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Devoted to You”.
“Everlys’ new sound kept the harmonies high and lively, but accompanied them with sturdy acoustic guitars and a rock ‘n’ roll beat that owed something to Bo Didley,” said the Rough Guide to Rock. “The new sound – precisely arranged, whiny, compelling – was perfect for teenage portable radios.”
“Wake Up Little Susie”, also released in 1957, was their first No. 1 hit. A song about two teens who fall asleep in the driveway and wake up long after curfew, it was banned from Boston radio stations for its sexually suggestive content.
In 2000, then-presidential candidate George W. Bush told talk show host Oprah Winfrey that his favorite song was “Wake Up Little Susie,” but he got it wrong. artist, attributing the song to Buddy Holly, according to Rolling Stone.
“EACH SYLLABLE CAN SHINE”
In 1960, the brothers signed with a new label, Warner Bros., accepting a 10-year, $ 1 million contract and debuting their own song, “Cathy’s Clown”.
As the 1960s wore on, the brothers became more and more out of touch with the tumultuous era. Their impeccable image and innocent lyrics marked them as dated even as their sound continued through The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, in particular, who recorded “Bye Bye Love” on their 1970 hit album, “Bridge Over Troubled. Water “.
Art Garfunkel told Rolling Stone that the harmonization of the brothers taught him that “every syllable can shine.”
“They were guys from Kentucky with great harmonies at the perfect pitch and great diction,” he said. “All these vowels and consonants, these S’s and T’s, every one of them killed me.”
Personal issues took their toll as their popularity waned, with the two brothers becoming addicted to speed and Don suffering from a nervous breakdown and attempting to kill himself, according to Rolling Stone.
In 1973, the Everlys finally broke up at a concert – Don had taken the stage drunk – at Knott’s Berry Farm theme park in Buena Park, California.
“Phil Everly threw his guitar on the floor and walked off the stage at a performance of ‘Cathy’s Clown’, leaving Don to tell the stunned audience the band was done,” Rolling Stone said.
The brothers would not have spoken for nearly a decade and would have pursued a solo career.
In September 1983, they met at a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Their performance was critically acclaimed and produced an album and DVD.
“We had sung together and hadn’t really separated since we were about 6 years old,” Don told The New York Times. “It kept us from being immature, in a way, it kept us from developing individuality. But we took enough time and finally managed to work things out. Now it’s hard to remember why we were fighting.
Their unparalleled sound continued to resonate into the 1980s and beyond. In 1984, they reappeared in the American charts with the song “On the Wings of a Nightingale”, written for them by Paul McCartney.
Two years later, Paul Simon released his hit album, “Graceland”, on which the title track featured the brothers singing harmony.
In 1997, the Everlys received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Written by Xavier Briand; Editing by Christopher Wilson and Daniel Wallis