Don Everly, one-half of the pioneering Everly Brothers whose harmonising country rock hits impacted a generation of rock ‘n’ roll music, has died. He was 84.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a family spokesperson said Everly died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday. His brother, Phil Everly, died in January 2014 at age 74.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, the duo of Don and Phil drew upon their rural roots with their strummed guitars and high, yearning harmonies, while their poignant songs – many by the team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant – embodied teenage restlessness and energy.
Their 19 top 40 hits included “Bye Bye Love,” “Let It Be Me,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Wake Up Little Susie,” and performers from the Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel cited them as key influences.
“The Everly Brothers are integral to the fabric of American music,” said Jerry Lee Lewis in a statement. “With my friend Don‘s passing, I am reflecting on a life full of wonderful friends, spectacular music and fond memories.”
The two broke up amid quarrelling in 1973 after 16 years of hits, then reunited in 1983, “sealing it with a hug,” Phil Everly said.
They were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Don Everly was born in Brownie, Kentucky, to Ike and Margaret Everly, who were folk and country music singers. Phil Everly was born to the couple in Chicago, where the Everlys moved from Brownie when Ike grew tired of working in the coal mines.
The brothers began singing country music in 1945 on their family’s radio show in Shenandoah, Iowa.
Their career breakthrough came when they moved to Nashville in the mid-1950s and signed a recording contract with New York-based Cadence Records.
Their breakup came dramatically during a concert at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. Phil Everly threw his guitar down and walked off.
But after Phil’s death in 2014, Don said that he felt a spiritual message from his brother before he died.
“Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had,” Don Everly said in a statement in 2014.
Listen to Laurel, Gary & Mark’s tribute to him below: