Moon Reflects on Death of Phil Everly
As you know by now, Phil Everly (pictured left, above), one-half of the famous Everly Brothers passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Friday, January 3. He was 74. For me, his passing is another departing link to the fabulous fifties where country, blues and pop merged into Rock ‘N Roll. It was the music of my life.
Don was born in Kentucky, yet raised in Chicago where Phil was born two years later. With their father and mother’s musical background, the sons were no doubt influenced by the mix of country and city life.
There are no harmonies like blood-harmony and the Everlys made the most of it. Unfortunately, blood doesn’t always create the most harmonious relationships. More about that from Taste of Country below.
Other than their parents, another famous musical couple were a major influence in the lives of Don and Phil. They were Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Like the Everly Brothers, the Bryants are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
They wrote many of the Everlys’ first hit songs which made the country and Top 40 charts.
“All I Have To Do Is Dream”, “Bird Dog”, “Bye Bye Love”, “Like Strangers”, “Problems”, “Take A Message To Mary, “Wake Up Little Susie” and one of my personal favorites – because it was a favorite of my first love – “Devoted To You”. Some of the finest music YOU’VE never heard in a drive-in theater.
I once had the pleasure of meeting the Bryants’ granddaughter on a plane. Flying out of Nashville on American Airlines, when Nashville was a major hub and American was a major airline, I was seated next to two young girls, one of whom – perhaps 13 years old – noticed the list of songs on a computer printout I was reviewing.
“My grandfather wrote that song”, the dark haired beauty told me. “Which one”, I asked. “That one”, she replied as she pointed to the Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do is Dream”. I went on to tell her how much I admired her grandparents’ work. For this story, I unsuccessfully tried to find her name. She would be the daughter of either Dane or Del Bryant. If someone reading this story knows please convey my respects.
Now, as I mentioned, the strained relationship. From 1957 to 1973 the brothers were inseparable. That last year, the broke up performing together for ten years.
Christine Vinson at Taste of Country tells us: they were well-known for their fiery and oftentimes rocky relationship, but underneath it all ran a very deep love. Phil Now, Don Everly is opening up about his brother Phil Everly’s death.
“I loved my brother very much,” the 76-year-old singer tells People from his home in Tennessee. “I always thought I’d be the one to go first.”
Don reveals that it was actually a very special moment for him when he heard the news. “I was listening to one of my favorite songs that Phil wrote and had an extreme emotional moment just before I got the news of his passing,” he shares. “I took that as a special spiritual message from Phil saying goodbye.”
We mention the breaking up in 1973 and cutting ties for a decade — even refusing to speak to one another. They reunited in 1983, and Don explains that while their differences were vast, their love was even deeper.
“Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had,” he admits, adding touchingly, “The world might be mourning an Everly Brother but I’m mourning my brother Phil Everly.”
Concludes the singer, “My wife Adela and I are touched by all the tributes we’re seeing for Phil and we thank you for allowing us to grieve in private at this incredibly difficult time.”
For a really great background visit the Country Music Hall of Fame website where Margaret Everly is interviewed about their history.