In 1957 they were two children from Tennessee, little used to being on television. But Don Everly, 20, and Phil Everly, 18, had a hit: “Bye Bye Love.”
The Everly Brothers were young, just like rock ‘n’ roll. “Rock ‘n’ roll had a place where it started,” said Phil’s son, Jason Everly. “I mean, it didn’t exist; there was no rock ‘n’ roll. And then, no was Rock And Roll.”
For Jason and his cousin, Stacy Everly (Don’s daughter), rock ‘n’ roll history is family history.
and . Now the next generation has put together a new album of remastered tracks, titled “Hey Doll Baby.” It is not, however, a greatest hits collection. Stacy said: “We just found record after record after record… you hadn’t heard these songs before. So, it was fascinating. The usual suspects, we always listen to them, like everyone else, right? And then, you know, we see , ‘Oh wow, they recorded that? How interesting!'”
One in particular that stands out for them is “Gone, Gone, Gone”:
The album was produced by someone who also knows what it’s like to be the son of a rock star: Adria Petty, daughter of Tom Petty. “I’m a rabid Everly Brothers fan,” she said. “I even named my daughter Everly, at my dad’s urging. I’m one of those people!”
Tom Petty died in 2017, but he passed on his respect for the Everly Brothers to Adria. “There would be no Crosby, Stills & Nash, there would be no Beatles,” he said. “John and Paul used to play Don and Phil when they’re trying to figure out their arrangements.
“When someone asked me why I was doing this, I said, because dad wouldn’t have existed without them,” Adria said.
In 1986, when the brothers got their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Tom Petty was there. “A lot of people are credited with influencing the rock era, but these guys really did it, more than anyone I can think of, almost,” he said then.
Said Jason, “When they went into the studio to record and said ‘Bye Bye, Love,’ it started out as country and turned out to be a rock ‘n’ roll classic. And it blew everyone away.”
The siblings grew up performing on country radio with their parents, Ike and Margaret. Don was only 13 years old when he sang in a rare 1950 recording from an Iowa station. Just a few years later, the brothers headed to Nashville.
The Everlys’ songs of teenage love and teen angst somehow became more soulful with their brotherly harmony. By 1960 they were so popular that Warner Brothers signed them to an unprecedented contract. “It was the biggest recording contract in music history at the time,” Jason said. “I mean, $1 million, that was crazy.”
“Cathy’s Clown” became the Everly’s best-selling record:
But by 1964 its sales were declining. “Things changed,” Jason said. “The Beatles came along, and the music evolved and exploded again in a whole new way.”
The Everly Brothers continued to tour until 1973, when it all ended suddenly, right in the middle of a show, when Phil threw down his guitar.
They met ten years later, and as Phil Everly put it, their bond stuck. In 1984, Phil said: “Because they’re brothers, they sing together in a certain way and have a certain experience that works and fits. But it’s because we’re brothers that we get back together, not because we make music.” but because we are brothers.
As a kind of coda to their career, in 2003 they performed with another reunited duo, Simon and Garfunkel.
Stacy said, “I think they were two people who could also understand what they’d been through, because they’re two guys who also sang very close together, like brothers, and they also had their ups and downs over the years.”
In its early years, as Don Everly noted in 1984, rock music was considered a fad: “Pop music is a fickle lover and tastes change and come and go. That’s what we were told all the time: It’s never going to last. It’s never going to last.“
But it’s still here, and the Everly Brothers’ music is still rocking, nearly seven decades later.
Listen to “Hey Doll Baby” by the Everly Brothers on YouTube:
For more information:
Story produced by Ed Forgotson. Assembly: Remington Korper.