October 5, 2014 by Jay Minkin
If you look at the rock and roll timeline, The Everly Brothers influenced artists from The Beatles to present day with the Milk Carton Kids. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will be honoring them this month as part of their 19th Annual Music Masters Series with several educational events leading up to the big tribute concert at the State Theatre.
With Don singing the melody and Brother Phil harmonizing above, the 1986 Rock HOF inductees close mike harmony style was both emotional and mysterious back in 1957. The hit singles “Bye, Bye, Love”, “Wake Up Little Susie”, and “All I have to Do Is Dream” written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant were getting the attention of teenagers in America and across the pond in Great Britain. The Everly Brothers began penning their own legendary songs by 1960 with “Cathy’s Clown” and “When Will I Be Loved”. By then, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel along with The Beach Boys began trying to copy those harmonies and fold them into their own sound. As the British Invasion exploded, the Everly’s recorded Two Yanks in England released in 1966 with backing and co-songwriting from another band they influenced, The Hollies. Some of the other cats to play on this album besides Graham Nash were session musicians John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Elton John. Others to be greatly influenced through the ‘60’s included The Byrds, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash were not only trying to emulate the harmonies, but continuing to lean on the Everly’s style after their country-rock roots album Roots released in 1968.
Then things started to unravel. The boys ten year record contract with Warner Brothers was not renewed in 1970 and the well went dry on making hit records. Although they were picked-up by RCA Victor records in 1971, tension between Don and Phil caused such a riff that not only did they break up in 1973, but they barely spoke to one another except at their Father’s funeral for ten years. Their music remained alive with covers found on various Lp’s including a 7” inserted into Seconds of Pleasure featuring Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds of Rockpile during the punk / new wave era of 1980. So finally in 1983, the brothers got back together for a reunion concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London that was initiated by Albert Lee, who also served as the concert’s musical director. For over twenty years thereafter, The Everly Brothers continued to be involved with recording, singing on other artist’s records, touring, and influencing yet another generation of musicians.
Some of the free programs with reservations include author Michael Kosser discussing the 2001 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees influence on the Nashville music and songwriting scene at the Tri-C Black Box Theatre on Oct 21st, A Songwriters to Soundmen program at the rock hall with Rodney Crowell, Albert Lee and Peter Asher on October 22nd, and a keynote lecture by Ann Powers from National Public Radio on October 23rd at Case Western’s Wolstein Auditorium. Saturday October 25th begins with an all-day event at the museum with historic film footage and interviews with several musicians who worked with the Everly Brothers for $25 which includes admission and a lunch voucher. With Don Everly in attendance, the tribute concert that evening has an all-star cast with bandleader Rodney Crowell featuring Graham Nash, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Shelby Lynn, The Secret Sisters, Alison Krauss, Keb’ Mo’, Allison Moorer, JD Souther, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Dawn McCarthy, and Waddy Wachtel along with Albert Lee and Peter Asher. Variable priced concert tickets are available through the Playhouse Square box office.
Unfortunately, this past January Phil Everly lost his battle with chronic lung disease brought on by a lifetime of smoking and passed away just sixteen days prior to his 75th birthday. Although he will not be present to bask in the limelight of being honored, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will be promoting the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Fund throughout the week’s programs and that charitable contributions can be made to the Phil Everly Memorial Fund.