Phil Everly, the younger brother of Don, died yesterday at the age of 74, the result of pulmonary disease. Tributes have been pouring in not only for Phil but for what the Everly Brothers contributed to rock’n’roll. Consider:
- Their two-part harmony sound developed in the 50s (Phil did the high parts) provided a bridge between doo-wop, country and rock’n’roll.
- They filled an important gap between Elvis and the Beatles between 1957 and 1964.
- The Beatles were huge fans. They copped a lot of their harmonies from Everly Brothers songs. When the two groups first met face-to-face, the Beatles were awestruck and tongue-tied.
- Bob Dylan thought they were brilliant and studied their songwriting methods.
- The Beach Boys were also besotted with the Everlys’ harmonies. So much of their influence have be heard in Beach Boys material.
- Simon and Garfunkel’s style was a direct descendant of the Everly Brothers sound.
- You can draw a line back from the laid-back California country rock of the middle 70s (Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Brown, etc.) to the Everly Brothers.
- Even Billie Joe Armstrong is a massive fan. Let’s not forget that he and Norah Jones released an entire album of Everly covers.