PHIL EVERLY died January 3rd at the age of 74

PHIL EVERLY died
January 3rd at the age of 74 

 

The younger brother of the Everly
Brothers, died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease.  From the very beginning of the ‘Everly Brothers’ fame, when
the two small boys made their very first public performance in the old
City Auditorium in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and more regularly on KMA Radio
Station in Shenandoah, Iowa (they also sang on KFNF in Shenandoah
frequently) with their dad Ike and their mom Margaret, the Everly
Brothers created a harmony singing duet unbeatable by anyone’s
standards.  Phil was born on January 19, 1939, in Chicago, the son of a
coal mining father, Ike Everly, an accomplished guitarist and singer,
who managed to find his way out of the Kentucky coal mines to better his
life, and his families life by playing old-time country music.  His
guitar stylings were the precursor to both Chet Atkins and Merle
Travis.  Once they found their way to Shenandoah, Iowa, both brothers
were always very proud to say they ‘grew up’ in Iowa, and they did. 
They would find themselves singing old-time mountain songs between radio
commercials for rat poison and Foster’s Corn & Callus removers. 
Phil was 5 years old when he got to Shenandoah, and didn’t leave there
until he was 17.  When they finally left Shenandoah, ‘live’ radio music
was already going out of style, and father Ike began working as a
carpenter, hanging wall board.  Both Phil and Don helped him.  On a
hiatus, just to see if there was any chance in music at all, the
brothers saved up their meager dollars and decided to visit Nashville
for a week.  They made their way through audition after audition, even
standing outside the Ryman Auditorium to sing for anyone who would
listen, to no avail.  They finally found their way to the office of Chet
Atkins, then working for RCA records, who said later…”I found the
Everly boys to be polite, without an accent, and of very high
intelligence from those I normally interviewed.  I sent them to Cadence
Records.”  The Everly’s huge hit “Bye Bye Love” written by Bordeaux
Bryant who wrote the music and his wife Felice who wrote the words, had
already been turned down by well over 30 other recording artists,
including Elvis Presley.  They followed this hit song, almost
immediately with “Wake Up Little Susie” which immediately rose to #1 on
the music charts.  They followed the same road as all super-stars,
performing, singing, interviewing, playing, traveling.  By 1962, the
Everly’s had earned 35-million dollars from record sales.  By the end of
the 60’s they released “Roots” a return to the music they loved, and
the same music taught to them by their dad.  In 1973, with both
suffering health and stress problems from those many years of touring,
they broke up ‘during’ a concert at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park,
California.  Phil threw his guitar down, which ‘exploded’ on the stage,
and walked off in the middle of singing “Cathy’s Clown,” leaving a
stunned Don to tell a stunned audience the duo was finished.  They
re-united in 1983, for a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which
was a fresh and new as they had ever been, but they never returned to
the brilliance and remarkable ‘never to hear again’ brother harmony they
created in Shenandoah, Iowa, when their father Ike was backing them on
guitar. For two little boys that grew up in Iowa, Don Everly said it
best in an interview today…”I was listening to one of my favorite
songs, that Phil wrote, and had an extreme emotional moment just before I
got news of his passing.  I took that as a special spiritual message
frm Phil saying good bye.  Our love was and will always be deeper than
any any earthly diffewrences we might have had.  I loved my brother very
much.  I always thought I’d be the one to go first.  The world might be
mourning for an Everly Brother, but I am mourning my brother, Phil
Everly.” We inducted the Everly Brothers into America’s Old Time Country
Music Hall of Fame in 1976.  When we began placing photographs of
inductees in the Pioneer Music Musem, their’s was the very first one. 
They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986,
and they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville
in 2001.
 
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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