The Everly Brothers

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The Everly Brothers

Don (born February 1 1937 in Brownie, a small coal-mining town (now defunct) near Central City, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky) and Phil Everly (born January 18, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois) are country-influenced rock and roll performers who had their greatest success in the 1950s.

The sons of two Kentucky country musicians, The Everly Brothers recorded their first single, "Keep A' Lovin' Me, " in 1956, under the aegis of Chet Atkins, but it flopped. However their next single, "Bye Bye Love," (which had been rejected by 30 other acts, including Elvis Presley) became an across-the-board smash, reaching #2 on the pop charts, and #1 on both the Country, and the R & B charts. The song, written by the songwriting husband and wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant , became their first million-seller. They soon became known as the stalwarts of Archie Bleyer's Cadence Records label.

They had a hit with the single "Claudette," written by Roy Orbison (Claudette was the name of Roy's wife. She later died in a train accident.) Working with the Bryants, the harmonic duo had a number of hits in the USA and the UK, the biggest of which were "Wake Up Little Susie," "(All I Have to Do Is) Dream," and "Bird Dog." In 1960, when they signed with Warner Bros. Records, they continued to have hits, such as 1960's "Cathy's Clown" and "The Ferris Wheel" (from 1964), but the years after 1962 saw the Everly Brothers become less commercially viable than before even as they became artistically more accomplished. Following the British Invasion, Everly Brothers recordings like "I'll See Your Light" and "It Only Costs a Dime" (both 1965) began to reflect many of the changes in popular music they had, with their earlier work, put into motion; they recorded, with members of the Hollies contributing songs such as "So Lonely" and "Don't Run and Hide," a classic album entitled Two Yanks in England (1966), at the time somewhat under-appreciated (and currently unavailable on CD) but now considered one of their best efforts. In 1967 they had a hit single, "Bowling Green," and in 1968 they recorded another album now regarded as a classic, Roots, which featured their own compositions alongside songs by Randy Newman and others. In short, their mid- and late-'60s material is considered by many critics and listeners to compare favorably to that done by the Beatles and the Byrds.

With soft, mainly acoustic guitar backing, sweet close-harmony vocals, non-threatening lyrics, and clean-cut white faces, the Everly Brothers were, in their heyday, never perceived as a threat to society, as were performers such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard; they are one of rock and roll music's most important acts because their music, while arguably containing just as much subversion and sexual tension as that of many another group, helped bridge the gap between rock and country music in a way that appealed to fans of both genres. In addition, their approach to harmony singing influenced nearly every rock and roll group of the 1960s.

The duo broke up in 1973, but reformed in 1983 with a new album produced by Paul McCartney and Dave Edmunds. "On The Wings Of A Nightingale" became a hit single in both the US and UK.

The Everly Brothers have had a total of 26 Billboard Top 40 singles. In 1986 they were among the first 10 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. The Everly Brothers have a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Blvd. They still perform regularly as a duo around the world.


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