Isaac Donald Everly was born
in Brownie, Kentucky in 1937 and his brother Philp was born in Chicago two years later.
The boys began singing with their parents at ages five and six - a practice they continued
through high school. By the mid 40's their parents had a radio show and were joined by
their son's Don and Phil. The bays both learned to play the guitar and when their parents
retired in the 50's they struck out on their own.
They went to Nashville at the invitation of Chet Atkins in 1955
and began to write songs for Acuff-Rose. They began recording in 1957, songs that had been
written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant on the Cadence label. Their first big hit,
"Bye Bye Love," reached No.1 on the Country charts and No.2 on the Pop charts.
This song rejuvenated the music business in Nashville and established Don and Phil as
legendary performers. Phil was married at this time to another artist who sang for the
Cadence label, Janet Bleyer of the Chordettes.
From 1957 to 1959, The Everly Brothers had six top ten songs on
the Country charts and seven top ten's on the Pop charts. Many of these songs are written
by the Bryants, whose country flavored compositions helped to add a new dimention to
rock-and-roll. In the early 60's, The Everly Brothers got into a dispute over royalties
with Cadence and switched to the Warner Brothers label where they had one other top hit,
In the 50's and early 60's The Everly Brothers were riding high,
putting out many albums. By the time the British onslaught came, in 1964, they had run
their course. However they continued in the entertainment business and had a summer
television series on CBS. Then, in the early 70's Don and Phil started having personal
problems. The unrelenting performance schedules led to an addiction of speed for both. Don
had a nervous breakdown. They were feuding with each other which led to a violent breakup
in the summer of 1973 when Phil smashed his guitar into pieces on stage and walked out.
According to Don, The Everly Brothers died ten years ago.
In September of 1983, The Everly Brothers made peace with each
other during an emotional concert reunion in London. In 1986 they were elected to the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame. They continue to sing and perform together; as always, Don taking
the melody and Phil harmonizing above him. They were one of the top acts in rock and roll
history with the performance of their beautifully clear harmonic music!
Copyright©WWUH: November/December Program Guide, 1998