January 4th, 2014

RIP Phil Everly

I loved the Everly Brothers. Their sound was so perfectly blended, with wistful heartache that was nevertheless upbeat rather than gloomy. How did they do it? Being brothers helped; siblings have a special harmony.

They fought at one point and broke up. But they forgave each other and came back together again. Now Don Everly stands alone, bereft.

I’ve had a lot of trouble thinking of a song to end this post with. They gave us so many great ones! So I’ll pick three that show different moods (and two versions of each, first in their youth and then much older).

There’s happy:

…and then sad:

…and then wistful/yearning (the sweetest rock and roll song I ever knew, and the first rock and roll song I ever loved):

RIP, and thanks for all the wonderful music.

Oh, just one more, because it also features another great love of mine, Mark Knopfler. And because Chet Atkins looks like a cross between George W. Bush and Prince Charles.

And because it’s beautiful and beautifully simple:

24 Responses to “RIP Phil Everly”

  1. Stan Smith Says:

    Why Worry. The most perfect example of the Everlys ever. Beautiful.

    End of an era.

  2. John Tuohy Says:

    Great duo – truly among the most influential of the rock and roll era. RIP Mr. Everly.


  3. Bob Kantor Says:

    My favorite was “The Price of Love.”

  4. Don Carlos Says:

    yesterday there were some internet postings suggesting Phil’s obit was a hoax.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos:

    It does not appear to be a hoax.

  6. FOAF Says:

    RIP, Phil. The Everlys were awesome. They were a major influence on the Beatles (and many other ’60s rock/pop acts) especially their vocal sound.

  7. FOAF Says:

    *So* many great recordings. And they haven’t aged a bit, they still sound as fresh and beautiful as when they came out, some of them over 50 years ago. There are those who disparage the “Warner Bros” period (early 60s) vs. the earlier recordings but I disagree. Any time those two voices came together it was magic.

  8. Bill Says:

    The Everly Brothers both served in the Marine Corps.


  9. Bert Says:

    My own personal favorite was “On The Wings Of A Nightengale” written by Paul McCartney for the Everlys. Man, I love their music. Rest in peace, Phil. We’re going to miss you big time.

  10. Don Carlos Says:

    Those of us in our 60s and 70s think of the Everlys as Golden Oldies. They wore ties then and combed their hair!
    The current youth have Rap and other crap to look forward to as their Golden Oldies, listening to that as they gaze at the tats in their wrinkled thinning skins. But OK, Obamacare will make it all better.

  11. ligneus Says:

    One of my favourites.


  12. Peter Says:

    I went into the service with the Everly Brothers, came home to The Doors. And music has been going downhill since. RIP, Phil.

  13. Neshobanakni Says:

    On “Why Worry,” was that Michael MacDonald on keyboards.

    The Everlys were kin of mine. Family reunions were at their lake in western Kaintuck.

  14. PacRim Jim Says:

    So Sad

  15. sbruce45 Says:

    I found the more recent version of Dream so beautiful. Thanks for including the newer ones for comparison.

  16. parker Says:

    There are so many great Everly recordings to choose from, one of my top 5 is Walk Right Back.


  17. Mac Says:

    “Cathy’s Clown” was always one of my favorites. I only recently heard their version of “Love Hurts,” which is one of the all-time great songs when sung by any minimally competent person, and really great when sung by them.

  18. FOAF Says:

    And let’s not forget “Let It Be Me”. It was not original to them and has been covered by many others, including a popular version by soul singers Jerry Butler and Betty Everett. But the Everlys’ version is at or near the top of the list.

  19. expat Says:

    What strikes me about their music was their ability to confess to having a broken heart and then showing a manly way of dealing wth it. Does any of today’s music do this? Are today’s pop stars capable of showing intimacy and vulnerability? I’m glad I experienced this music before feminism and victimology took over the world.

  20. Chuck Says:

    Thanks for the post. Like many of you the Everly Brothers were one of my childhood favorites. They were, to me, very special, though, and in ways I can’t really explain. Their voices, in harmony, seemed almost magical to me. Makes me feel sad now to know that the spell is now broken. RIP.

  21. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Didn’t care much for the Everly Brothers. For close harmony, I liked The Lettermen. For close dancing.
    Everlys were too personal–the singer’s angst–while The Lettermen allowed you to imagine your own stuff.
    Turns out they wanted to be a doo-wop group, but a Detroit DJ, J. P. McCarthy, played the B side of their first release, which was slow close harmony. It was such a hit that it turned their career in a new direction.

  22. rickl Says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post. The Everly Brothers were a little before my time, but they were great. I understand that their harmonies had a big influence on the Beatles.

    Yesterday I linked their version of “Love Hurts” in an Ace of Spades thread. That song was a big hit when I was a teenager in the mid-70s by a group called Nazareth. I never cared much for it, but there was no escaping it at the time.

    It wasn’t until about 15 years later that I learned that the Everly Brothers had recorded it in 1960. Needless to say, I like their version much better.

    Love Hurts

  23. Former Marine's Mom Says:

    Ah, the good old days when the music (the voices, the song, the instruments) was enough for the video. No nudity or pornographic images needed.

  24. Bol Says:

    I am indeed saddened by the passing of Phil. Just like for ABBA I always had this hope for some great comeback. I don’t think music can be squeezed into periods of “my time/your time” when it is true art.Refer to Morzat, Beethoven from centuries ago and to traditional song from eons past.
    BUT unfortunately music like every good thing of this world nowadays is being fast degraded by vanity. “Artists” are producing dog shit by the ship load.
    The Everly Brothers represent an era of greater genuineness- GOLD. RIP Phil, unto heaven.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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