Don Everly of early rock ‘n’ roll Everly Brothers dies at 84

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Don Everly, one-half of the pioneering Everly Brothers whose harmonizing country rock hits impacted a generation of rock ‘n’ roll music, has died. He was 84.

Everly died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday, according to his attorney and family spokesperson Linda Edell Howard. His brother, Phil Everly, died in January 2014 at age 74.

“Don lived by what he felt in his heart,” a statement from the family said. “Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams … living in love with his soul mate and wife Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother. Don always expressed how grateful he was for his fans.”

In the late 1950s and 1960s, the duo of Don and Phil drew upon their rural roots with their strummed guitars and high, yearning harmonies, while their poignant songs — many by the team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant — embodied teenage restlessness and energy. Their 19 top 40 hits included “Bye Bye Love,” “Let It Be Me,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Wake Up Little Susie,” and performers from the Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel cited them as key influences.

“The Everly Brothers are integral to the fabric of American music,” said Jerry Lee Lewis in a statement. “With my friend Don’s passing, I am reflective … reflective on a life full of wonderful friends, spectacular music and fond memories. There’s a lot I can say about Don, what he and Phil meant to me both as people and as musicians, but I am going to reflect today.”

Songs like “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie” appealed to the postwar generation of baby boomers, and their deceptively simple harmonies hid greater meaning among the lighter pop fare of the era.

The two broke up amid quarreling in 1973 after 16 years of hits, then reunited in 1983, “sealing it with a hug,” Phil Everly said.

Although their number of hit records declined in the late 1980s, they had successful concert tours in the U.S. and Europe.

They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the same year they had a hit pop-country record, “Born Yesterday.” Two years earlier, they had success with the up-tempo ballad “On the Wings of a Nightingale,” written by Paul McCartney.

“As a singer, a songwriter and a guitar innovator, Don Everly was one of the most talented and impactful artists in popular music history,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, in a statement. The brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Don Everly was born in Brownie, Kentucky, to Ike and Margaret Everly, who were folk and country music singers. Phil Everly was born to the couple in Chicago, where the Everlys moved from Brownie when Ike grew tired of working in the coal mines.

The brothers began singing country music in 1945 on their family’s radio show in Shenandoah, Iowa.

Their career breakthrough came when they moved to Nashville in the mid-1950s and signed a recording contract with New York-based Cadence Records.

Their breakup came dramatically during a concert at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. Phil Everly threw his guitar down and walked off, prompting Don Everly to tell the crowd, “The Everly Brothers died 10 years ago.”

The disputes between the brothers even went to court, when Don Everly sued the heirs of Phil Everly in 2017 over the copyright to three of their songs, including “Cathy’s Clown.” The case went all the way to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But after Phil’s death in 2014, Don said that he felt a spiritual message from his brother before he died.

“Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had,” Don Everly said in a statement in 2014.

While apart, they pursued solo singing careers with little success. Phil also appeared in the 1978 Clint Eastwood movie “Every Which Way but Loose.” Don made a couple of records with friends in Nashville, performed in local nightclubs and played guitar and sang background vocals on recording sessions.

Don Everly said in a 1986 Associated Press interview that he and his brother were successful because “we never followed trends. We did what we liked and followed our instincts. Rock ‘n’ roll did survive, and we were right about that. Country did survive, and we were right about that. You can mix the two, but people said we couldn’t.”

Decades later, their impact on popular music is still evident. In 2013, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones released a loving tribute to the Everlys on their collaborative album “Foreverly.”

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango


"

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
West Side brewhouse movie theater sets reopening date
ABQnews Seeker
Flix Brewhouse on Albuquerque’s West Side ... Flix Brewhouse on Albuquerque’s West Side will reopen Sept. 30.
2
Jane Powell, Hollywood golden-age musicals star, dies at 92
Most Recent Entertainment News
Jane Powell, the bright-eyed, operatic-voiced star ... Jane Powell, the bright-eyed, operatic-voiced star of Hollywood's golden age musicals who sang with Howard Keel in 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' and danced ...
3
'Jeopardy!' hosts: Bialik, Ken Jennings will finish 2021
Most Recent Entertainment News
Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will ... Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will split 'Jeopardy!' hosting duties for the remainder of 2021. Sony Pictures Television announced the plan Thursday, the same ...
4
Alanis Morissette blasts documentary 'Jagged' as 'salacious'
Most Recent Entertainment News
Just hours before the HBO documentary ... Just hours before the HBO documentary 'Jagged' was to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday, Alanis Morissette criticized the film about ...
5
Norm Macdonald, former 'Saturday Night Live' comic, dies
Most Recent Entertainment News
Comedian Norm Macdonald, a former 'Saturday ... Comedian Norm Macdonald, a former 'Saturday Night Live' writer and performer who was 'Weekend Update' host when Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson provided comic ...
6
Lil Nas X, Justin Bieber top star-packed MTV VMAs
Most Recent Entertainment News
Lil Nas X won video of ... Lil Nas X won video of the year at Sundays MTV VMAs on a night that Justin Bieber triumphantly returned to the stage as ...
7
Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of 'Breathless,' dies at 88
Most Recent Entertainment News
Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of the iconic ... Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of the iconic French New Wave film 'Breathless,' whose crooked boxer's nose and rakish grin went on to make him one ...
8
Actor Michael K. Williams, Omar on 'The Wire,' dead ...
Most Recent Entertainment News
Actor Michael K. Williams, who as ... Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on 'The Wire' created one of the most beloved and ...
9
China bans men it sees as not masculine enough ...
Most Recent Entertainment News
China's government banned effeminate men on ... China's government banned effeminate men on TV and told broadcasters Thursday to promote 'revolutionary culture,' broadening a campaign to tighten control over business and ...