Thursday, October 15, 2009

Devoted to Don and Phil

The Everly Brothers rock. I had known about their existence for quite some time but it wasn’t until last summer when I finally started to realize their true greatness. I call it “a personal breakthrough”: that moment, those one or two days of your life when you feel you’ve finally found the essence of a band/artist and suddenly enjoy listening to it more than ever. The artist has become more familiar to you, which enables you to enjoy the music more and more... I found the essence of the Everly Brothers thanks to a release called It’s Everly Time & A Date With The Everly Brothers, a CD that contains the duo’s third and fourth album. The albums were originally released in 1960 and 1961.

These brothers are a perfect answer to anyone (like me) who hungers for sugary 50s/early 60s teen idols – and harmonies! Although the Everlys aren’t regarded primarily as teen idols, almost everyone knows that they are probably the most ear-melting male duo ever. Something about them is in fact different from most other harmony singing groups and duos…

The Everly Brother’s roots are in rock’n roll and country music. Therefore many of their songs have a slightly country-tingled rock’n roll feel, and the steel guitar has an effect, too. The Everly Brothers are, as far as I know, probably most famous for gentle and absolutely stunning ballads like All I Have to Do Is Dream. Love songs form a considerate part of the duo’s catalog. The Everlys sing a great deal about girls. As we all know, girls usually lead to either bliss (You Thrill Me (Through and Through); Always It’s You) or misery (Sigh, Cry Almost Die; Love Hurts). While the brothers sing happily about happiness, in the sadder songs they express themselves melancholically but not bitterly. The peacefulness of this music makes it suitable for relaxation, and of course for those moments when you hunger for sweet...

Being one of the most delicious vocal duos ever the Everly Brothers influenced many groups that sang harmony vocals, such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys. The Everly Brothers’ harmonies differ from the usual harmony singing, where the different vocal parts would sound strange if they were separated. However, when listening to the Everly Brothers, you might notice that both Don’s lower and Phil’s higher melody line could stand on their own.

The Everly Brothers had their biggest hits around 1957-1964. During that time they recorded dozens of songs that became Billboard hits. When the British Invasion hit, it became significantly more difficult to reach audiences with traditional American pop. By the end of the 60s the Everly Brothers lost their hitmaker status to Britpop bands and other new phenomena. Don and Phil split in the early 70s and pursued solo careers but were reunited in 1983. More recent years have brought the Everly Brothers various awards, such as Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and introduction to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

When it comes to the musical situation of 21st century… People just don’t make a lot of music like this anymore. Sometimes I feel like I’m 70 years old. None of my friends really listens to this kind of stuff. Can you blame me for enjoying classic, traditional pop songs that focus on melody, songwriting, vocals and vocal harmonies? I guess you can’t. I bet you enjoy the exact same thing, and so would also my friends if they gave the early 60s a proper chance.

The Everly Brothers at YouTube
The Everly Brothers Fan Club - The Beehive

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