Don Everly, Of Iconic Rock ‘N’ Roll Duo The Everly Brothers, Dies Aged 84
Don Everly, the last surviving member of The Everly Brothers, has died. He was 84.
Everly passed away at his home in Nashville on August 21, a spokesperson for his family confirmed to the Los Angeles Times. At the time of writing, no cause of death has been revealed.
“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,” his family said in a statement.
Don was born on February 1, 1937, the son of Ike Everly – a coal miner turned musician. Ike was taught guitar by Arbol Schultz, a guitarist and teacher who also taught famed musician Bill Monroe. In the 1930s, Ike moved his family to Chicago in search of a music career, where Don’s younger brother Phil was born in 1939.
After discovering the melodic harmonies of his two sons, the family started making music together. They started a radio show in the 1940s which gained them much attention.
After the success of the show, Ike took his two sons to Nashville where the brothers eventually signed a record deal. The brothers officially formed The Everly Brothers in 1957 and the duo were quickly famed for their soaring harmonies.
In the period from 1957 to 1962, they had 15 Top 10 hits including Bye Bye Love, All I Have to Do Is Dream and Cathy’s Clown, which was a number one hit in the US in 1960.
The Everly Brothers were early rock ’n’ roll royalty from the time Bye Bye Love reached No. 2 on the charts in the summer of 1957. They were close with the likes of Buddy Holly, and it’s almost impossible to overstate their influence on the rock ’n’ roll generation that turned their music into a multibillion-dollar industry in the 1960s.
The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel were only some of the most successful among the acts who went to school on Everly Brothers records like Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, Til I Kissed You, Cathy’s Clown, Walk Right Back, So Sad, Problems, Take a Message to Mary, All I Have to Do Is Dream and When Will I Be Loved? Several written, it should be noted, by another A-list team: Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.
In a June 1986 interview, Don Everly noted that the harmonies he and Phil turned into seminal rock ’n’ roll had roots back to the beginning of civilization, running parallel to the equally rich and influential black harmony quartet and choir tradition.
“We sing in the style of the Delmore Brothers and the Monroe Brothers,” said Don, referencing two popular country and bluegrass harmony groups of the 1930s and 1940s.
“Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell were big influences on us, too,” he said, alongside their musician father Ike. At one point they recorded an album of traditional country and folk ballads titled Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.
The Everly Brothers later became one of the first groups to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 alongside artists including Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. Don and Phil Everly released 21 studio albums in addition to several live and compilation albums. Don also released several solo records including Sunset Towers and Brother Jukebox.
His brother Phil died of pulmonary disease in 2014 at the age of 74.
Don Everly is survived by his mother, Margaret, his wife Adela, his children Edan, Venetia, Stacy and Erin.