Don Everly, the last surviving member of early rock n’ roll pioneers The Everly Brothers, died at his Nashville home on Saturday at the age of 84.
As a statement from the family to the Los Angeles Times confirming his passing read in part, “Don lived by what he felt in his heart. Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams … with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother.”
Isaac Donald “Don” Everly and his younger brother, the late Philip “Phil” Everly were highly influential in the late 1950s and early 1960s, pioneering the close-harmony vocals and steel-string acoustic guitar sound that would go on to be adopted by acts like The Beatles, Bee Gees, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, and more.
As Paul McCartney once said of the creative debt owed to the Everly Brothers, “When John [Lennon] and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don.”
Paul Simon, who worked with the Everly brothers on Graceland, told the New York Times following Phil Everly’s death in 2014, “Phil and Don were the most beautiful sounding duo I ever heard. Both voices pristine and soulful. The Everlys were there at the crossroads of country and R&B. They witnessed and were part of the birth of rock and roll.”
As the Los Angeles Times notes, “In a five-year span from 1957 to 1962, they had 15 top 10 hits, among them: ‘Bye Bye Love,’ which launched them; ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream,’ written by Boudleaux Bryant; and ‘Cathy’s Clown,’ which was a No. 1 hit in 1960 and a No. 1 country hit for Reba McEntire in 1989.”
The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part if its inaugural class in 1986, and were later ranked the “Greatest Duo of All Time” in a 2015 list published by Rolling Stone.
The Everly Brothers – “Cathy’s Clown” (1960)
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Read a statement from Don Everly’s family posted to the official Everly Brothers Instagram page below.
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