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Devoted To The Everly Brothers

In the early 60s two Jewish kids from Forest Hills, Queens wanted to be the Everly brothers, so they formed a duo and wrote a song called “Hey There Little Schoolgirl” and nothing came of it till one of them went to England as a solo act and rode the tailcoats of the folk explosion before returning to the States and joining back up with Art Garfunkle to form a hugely successful duo performing folk music mixed with Everly Brothers harmonies.
 
 
Tom and Jerry weren’t the only musicians inspired by Don and Phil Everly. All of the Beatle’s country-rock material borrowed liberally from The Everly Brothers, Nick Lowe and dave Edmund owe them a debt that Edmund repaid when he headed their back up band for the Everly’s re-union tour in 1983.
 
Brother’s from Kentucky (Don is the older one), there Dad was a musican and they started off young working on the radio before being handed Felice and Boudleau Bryant’s song “Bye Bye Love” in 1957. The good looking, well mannered and turned out duo were a big hit with the ladies and started a career mining a rock and roll closer to its country roots than Presleys bluesier take on it. But it was REAL rock and roll; the brothers toured with giants like Buddy Holly and their string of singles with Cadence Record was crossover by definition.
 
There is a Cadence anthology of all the Everly brothers singles for them and it is heavenly, one gorgeous song after another. No, it wasn’t the bloody minded assault of the Sun records, the rockers, covers of stuff like “Be Bop A Lula” mix it up with novelty songs like “Bird Dog,” dead girl song “Ebony Eyes” and straight to the heart ballads like “Let It Be Me”. All the songs seemed to work from an acoustic guitar strum, the brothers would harmonize on the rockers, trade verses and join together on the chorus. They sometimes wrote their own songs “Cathy’s clown” is one of theirs, often covered Bryant songs and made each and everyone sound uniquely brotherly. I wrote a post a couple of days ago about the Beatles harmonizing -well, they learnt it from 60s girl groups and the Everlys.
 
The material is of an enormous quality. “Bye Bye Love”, “Wake Up Little Suzie”, “All I Have To Do Is Dream”, “Claudette”, “Bird Dog”, “Devoted to you”, “Till I Kissed You”, “Let It Be Me”, “Cathy’s Clown”, “Walk Right back” “Be Bop A Lula”, “Price Of Love” -this is the equal of the Stones run in the 60s… a ridiculously great achievement. And maybe they didn’t rock that hard, they still rocked plenty, give a listen to their version of Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly”.
 
On a song like “Devoted to You” sung in close harmony with a shuffling drum and the brothers sharing the same melody together. The bridge, “I’ll never hurt you, I’ll never lie” goes down an octave before returning to the verse (chorus?) “Through the years my love will grow, like a river it will flow It can’t die because I’m so–” Your Grandma was swooning over that, I can promise you.
 
By the 70s the hits stopped happening and the Every brothers acrimoniously broke up for ten years till the 1983 tour.
I saw them playing with Simon and Garfunkle at MSG in 2003 and it was a highlight of my concert going life. You can’t love these guys enough, they were the most touching and beautiful harmony singers of a generation. I wish they’d go on tour again it’s been too long

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