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Phil Everly, Rock'n'Roll Original: 1939-2014 | reviews, news & interviews

Phil Everly, Rock'n'Roll Original: 1939-2014

Phil Everly, Rock'n'Roll Original: 1939-2014

One half of hugely influential American singing partnership passes away

One of pop's golden voices, never overshadowed

With the passing of Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers yesterday, aged 74, rock’n’roll loses half of one of its greatest original pairings. With his brother Don he meshed the close harmonies of country acts such as the Louvin Brothers with the poppy rock’n’roll of fellow southern boy Buddy Holly, a close friend with whom they toured regularly.

The Everlys had a spectacular run of hits between 1957 and 1962, songs such as “Bye Bye Love”, “Wake Up Little Susie” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream”. Among much else, their 1960 song “Cathy’s Clown” was the first single to simultaneously top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The duo were hugely influential on later Sixties pop, notably the work of Simon & Garfunkel. John Lennon and Paul McCartney actively imitated the Everlys’ vocal stylings on early Beatles singles such as “Please Please Me”. The Everlys were famously quarrelsome and split in 1973, each going solo, only to reunite a decade later, with McCartney even writing their comeback single. They have toured many times since but their career will be remembered for the way their music successfully bridged original Fifties rock'n'roll and the pop explosion that was to come.

A lifelong smoker, Phil Everly died after a fortnight in hospital in Los Angeles of complications from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Those that worked with him claimed with good reason that, while his health suffered in later years, it never destroyed his wonderful voice.

Overleaf: Theartsdesk offers reminders of Phil Everly's unique talents.


Watch a delicious performance of "Let It Be Me" by the newly reformed Everly Brothers at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983.

Watch the Everly Brothers sing "Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine" on the Johnny Cash Show in the early Seventies, accompanied by Cash and their father Ike. It was as part of the latter's musical family radio show in Iowa that the Everlys first began performing.

Watch the Everlys in July 1960 performing "When Will I Be Loved" on US prime time TV.

Watch Phil Everly clearly revelling in his performance of "Louise" on a boisterous American TV show during his solo years.

Watch the Everlys perform "Wake Up Little Susie" at the behest of Paul Simon in 2004, older but definitely unbowed.

His music successfully bridged original Fifties rock'n'roll and the pop explosion that was to come

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