Don Everly, of the Everly Brothers, Dead at 84
His musical influence was considerable
As news spread on Saturday that Don Everly of the Everly Brothers had died earlier that day, musicians and writers spoke up as to the duo’s vast influence. Among the iconic bands who drew inspiration from them were Simon and Garfunkel, The Kinks and The Beatles. That the Everly Brothers were inductees for both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame speaks to their wide-ranging appeal.
Don was the older of the two brothers; Phil died seven years ago at the age of 74. Writing at The New York Times, Bill Friskics-Warren concisely explained their astonishing success early in their careers. He wrote that the duo “once rivaled Elvis Presley and Pat Boone for airplay, placing an average of one single in the pop Top 10 every four months from 1957 to 1961.”
It was a formative time for many musicians who went on to become household names, and some of them paid back that influence in unexpected ways. Simon & Garfunkel’s 2003 reunion tour, for instance, had the Everlys as special guests. As Andy Greene pointed out at Rolling Stone, during their high school years, Simon and Garfunkel found common ground while singing Everly Brothers songs.
“Phil and Don were the most beautiful sounding duo I ever heard,” Paul Simon told the Times in response to the news of Don’s death.
The duo broke up in 1973 and reunited ten years later. Don recorded a trio of solo albums between 1970 and 1983. The Everly Brothers went on to record several albums after their reunion, including 1984’s EB 84. That album featured “On the Wings of a Nightingale,” written by another longtime Everly Brothers fan, one Paul McCartney.
Don Everly’s music has drawn acclaim for a host of reasons, from the brothers’ vocal harmonies to the reach of their influence. It speaks volumes about Everly’s endurance and legacy as a musician.
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