Saturday, January 4, 2014
Phil Everly died yesterday. As you probably know, he was one half of the musical duo the Everly Brothers. I grew up familiar with their big hit singles of the 1950s and ’60s, but I primarily remembered the Everlys as the hosts of the summer-replacement series for The Johnny Cash Show in 1970. I didn’t really come to recognize the Everly Brothers’ historical standing as rock & roll trailblazers until much later. For example, rock-music historian Michael Campbell credits the brothers for defining the rock ballad in 1958 with their song “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” Also important is their direct influence on such equally influential musical acts as the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel.
I’d like to write an appreciation of Phil Everly and the music he and his brother, Don, created in those formative years of rock & roll. However, I’m probably not the best person to write it, and many appreciations will no doubt be written in the days to come by music experts and aficionados more knowledgeable than I am. So, instead, because this is a trivial blogpost, I’ll pass along a piece of trivia.
As I said, the Everly Brothers were a major influence on many big-name acts over the years, and those performers would sometimes in their work tip their hats to the brothers, such as Simon and Garfunkel covering the Everly hit “Bye Bye, Love” on the 1970 album Bridge over Troubled Water. On Paul McCartney’s album Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976), his song “Let ’Em In” has a chorus that goes:
Sister Suzie, Brother John,
Martin Luther, Phil and Don,
Brother Michael, Auntie Jin,
Open the door, let ’em in.
I wonder how many people over the years have heard or sung that song, to themselves or to others, without realizing that the names “Phil and Don” in the lyrics refer to the Everly Brothers.
Anyway, I just thought I’d share that tidbit while the Everly Brothers were on my mind. Yes, I know: this is a very boring blogpost. If it were a movie, it would probably be the soporific one sung about in “Wake Up, Little Susie.”