STORY BEHIND THE SONG(Posted Sept. 23, 2009 - Courtesy: www.countrymusicclassics.com)
The Everly Brothers have often been called "an overnight success," and although the duo became one of the most successful music acts between 1957 and 1962, that success did not happen overnight.
Their father, Ike Everly, moved to Chicago in an effort to sustain a career in country music, but wound up in the Midwest. In 1955, he brought his family to Nashville, Tenn., hoping his singing sons might find the success that had eluded him.
Don Everly did make some marks as a writer, penning "Thou Shalt Not Steal" by Kitty Wells, two songs recorded by Justin Tubb and one for Anita Carter.
Don and Phil signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, but after four songs the record label terminated their contract and released them. Then, the man who later became The Everly Brothers' record proŠducer turned them down the first time he heard them because he didn't like their sound.
Archie Bleyer, who initially turned them down, was searching for a country music act for his Cadence Records. But after a second listen, he gave them a recording contract.
Wesley Rose, of Acuff Rose Music, took the song "Wake Up Little Susie" to Bleyer, who immediately disliked the song because of the lyrics. The song was written by husband and wife team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. Bleyer said it sounded like Susie and her boy friend had slept together at the drive-in movie. But the Everly Brothers recorded the tune despite Bleyer's objection.
Although the record was banned by some radio staŠtions because of its "suggesŠtive lyrics," it entered the country music charts Sept. 30,1957, and quickly made it to the No. 1 spot, where it stayed for 22 weeks. The record was also No. 1 in pop music the week of Oct. 14, 1957.
The Everly Brothers were unique to the music business not only for their commerŠcially crafted recordings, but because they were one of the first consistently successful rock n' roll acts to come out of Nashville, Tenn. Their songs came from Nashville songwriters, were recorded in Nashville with Nashville musicians, yet left their mark on both the pop and country music charts.
The Phil Everly Interview BBC Radio 1 - 27 May 02
Simon Mayo: Thank you very much indeed for joining us, so there are many, Everly Brothers compilations come out before. This claims to be the definitive collection, it's got pretty much everything that you've ever done on there. Do you get to see the track listing?
Phil Everly: I only heard about it. I haven't seen it yet.
SM: You haven't been intimately involved in putting it together then.
PE: Just been course of conversations about it you know. They do pretty good job, and it's kinda nice to keep your hand out of it, you just stun better.
SM: I understand that Don's retired, is that right.
PE: Well yes, we've both stopped touring on the road, and we just don't do that anymore. We finished off last year. I think we've creaked around enough. We've been pretty much everywhere there is.
SM: You know that there have been an aweful lot of people in the UK who would love to see you doing it just a couple more times.
PE: Well, we thought we might, but you know, I think that not only your body wears out, I think the voices would go first, but it seems with rock 'n roll your knees go you know.
SM: But I imagine you still have that intuitive harmony sense which you always had.
PE: It still like to sing, in fact it's kinda hard not to just play. What is really nice about not touring is that sort of having to stand and deliver. One thing we've always prided ourselves in doing is doing it the best we could anytime we stood and did it and when you have to worry about it too much it gets a little harder when you get a little older. It's a little harder travelling around.I do miss two of our boys, Phil Crannon and Pete Winfield, who are from England. I miss hanging out with the gang...you know 'cos we've all been together on this last run about 18 years. That part I'm going to really really miss. But we see them socially, so that's OK, but we still kinda miss the camerardarie that we get on stage. That part is really gonna be missed.
SM: Your close harmony style influenced many performers. Who did you listen to? Who inspired you to sing like that?
PE: Our main teacher was our father, Ike Everly, and he sort of raised us on, I think, primary influences for people that were known, were fairly obscure country singers like The Delmore Brothers, and the York Brothers. They were kind of a traditional southern brothers singing acts and quite common. My dad had sung with his brothers when younger, so dad is really the man that got us going in the right direction, and of course we worked in and early family show, and that was our real training ground.
SM: So it was in the genes really Phil?
PE: I think so, you know, both of my sons play, and Don's son plays and so I guess it just goes on and on, just, generations and that.
SM: So to all the listeners in the UK, who having heard that you were going to be in the programme have been asking what are the chances of your coming back, either on your own or with Don, what do we tell 'em?
PE: I don't think I am going to be playing but you know every time I say anything it winds up as being just the opposite, so I'm saying I think probably we won't be, but we you never can tell, something special will come up and we might do it, but I don't think we'll be doing it to the extent. When we came to England all the time we always tried to travel the whole country and go to the people, and I think that is a little beyond us now, a little hard. My best friend Tony Slater lives over in England so I come over socially anyway, but maybe I'll drop by that way, I don't know.
SM: Just trying to select one of the tracks from this album to play, 'cos we could just pick a track and do anything with it, 'cos they're all so well known. I think I want to play Bye Bye Love, if that's o...
PE: The first one, that's always the best.
SM: It's a cracker. I mean do you remember recording this. What are your thoughts on this song now?
PE: The whole of the session was almost like, it's like instantly like yesterday, you know, it, I mean, we came out of that session, we kinda thought we had something, but we had no idea it was really going to make a difference, and we actually were glad to be recording anything. I was happy to make the $64 that we got for recording. And having that, knowing that we had a little money meant something to me. But the day was unforgetable.
SM: What did you make of the Simon & Garfunkle version?
PE: I like it. We happen to like the Simon & Garfunkle anyway, but the,.. I was glad to hear another version of something that we have done. It's just one of those interesting things, when you hear someone else do another, ..the variances of them, just a little, a little,...the difference in the voices,...it's kinda interesting.
SM: And good for the royalties.
PE: Well, it doesn't hurt, does it?
SM: He, he, he,..er..OK Phil, we gonna play your version of Bye Bye Love from the new definitive collection, and it's been great to talk to you...thank you for your time.
PE: It's been my pleasure, thank you.
Posted October 12, 2001
Dear Everly Friends! Again a new update of my Everly Brothers Curiosities site. More pictures of Don and Phil in Central City 2001. A portrait of Jamie Hartford. Nice item. New links and more. Have fun! Martin Alberts - Kentucky Colonel - http://home.hccnet.nl/wm.alberts/
Posted May, 16, 2001
A request from The Everly Brothers International Webmaster. Just recently we co-operated with Warner Music Europe on the release of all the Everly Brothers material on Warner Brothers (recorded in the 60¹s) in the forthcoming two years. The first release, It¹s Everly Time/A Date With ... will be out June 5th 2001. All releases will include bonus tracks and alternate takes. As future releases depend on the success of the first one, I would like to ask you to share this information with everyone by referring to our newly created domain at www.everly.net. Here they will find the latest updates.
Through this we hope, here at EBI, that we can make this a success and be able to contribute to all the Warner material finally being released (which seems to have taken ages by now ...) Naturally we¹ll be more than glad to assist you in similar projects for your favorite artist(s) on our website and newsletters. Hope you¹ll be able to participate and to show record companies that Fan Clubs can make a difference! All the best, Bas Siewertsen
Also visit the International Everly Brothers Website
The Early Everly Brothers' Storyby Ike Everly as told to Ben A. Green - Summer 1958
Their mother's faith in God and in the boys' ability is responsible for Don and Phil Everly being what they are today. It is impossible to tell how much we appreciate the guidance, the friendships, and the help they have received. But above all, Margaret, my wife, has been the key to their lives. She has done it by expressing belief in them and their future when unemployment, sickness, and other factors made our family's future look all but lost.
BORN IN KENTUCKY. We were in show business when the boys were born in Central City, Ky. I started in show business in 1932, I believe. That was after I had done several other things, including working in a coal mine where my father had worked. I was born and raised in Ohio County, just over the Kentucky line. Later we moved to Muhlenberg County. My first music job was at WGBS in Muhlenberg County.
It came naturally because I've loved country music all my life. My dad was an old left-handed fiddler, and my mother played too. We always liked music a lot. There were 10 children, five boys and five girls. Now there are three boys and three girls. We always played around home and never thought of making a living at it or making any money out of it. In 1929 I went to Chicago, played some, but got homesick in a month or two. It was a small station I was on, and I doubted if it's in existence now. When I started to leave for home, the station manager told me he might be able to pay us so we wouldn't have to do any other kind of work. We had been playing one night a week for the fun of it.
I could hardly grasp the idea because I just never had given it much consideration - making a living playing music. But I kept on playing for fun and in 1932 got acquainted with a band of musicians that needed a guitar player. I played and sang with them so they hired me. We had a sponsor, Crazy Water Crystals, I think it was. That was before I married Margaret Embry, who had been a next-door neighbor of our family all her life. Don was born February 1, 1937, in Central City, and Phil came along January 19, 1939. Margaret played the bass fiddle after the boys were born, and we went to Chicago when they were quite young - babies in fact. When I got married, I quit other work and started playing music full-time.
WITH GOBEL AND FOLEY. I worked road shows and night clubs in Chicago. I had the first electric guitar on Madison Street. I worked WLS road shows in the days when Red Foley and George Gobel were there, and I had the pleasure of working a few shows with them. In the fall of 1944, two other boys and I went to KAGL in Waterloo, Iowa, and we had a cowboy trio there. We stayed there around a year and then went to Southwestern Iowa, about 50 or 60 miles from Omaha, Nebraska where there were two radio stations, KMA and KFNS. So I started in as a solo act at KMA, and Don started working with me on a Saturday show in 1945. Don was about seven then, I believe. Pretty soon he attracted so much listener attention that it became Don's program.
PHIL TELLS JOKES. Phil was about six and too little to sing, so he would tell jokes. I could tell him a little joke, and he had the best memory of anybody I ever saw. He'd never flub a word. He would tell little things. For instance, Phil would come up after I'd rehearsed him and say, "Dad, I've done a good deed today." I'd say, "Fine, Phil, what did you do?" He'd reply, "You're going to be proud of me because I kept two boys from fighting, and who were they?" He'd answer, "Well, it was me and another boy, and I ran." The crowd loved it, every bit of it, and so did I. I'd be so proud when a big swarm of people would come around and talk about those little boys.
Pretty soon Don and Phil got to rehearsing together, and a good friend of ours, Lou Black, now deceased, came over from the station KMA. All the artists got together and started what they called the Corn Belt Jamboree. That was across the river from Omaha in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I'll never forget that Lou said, "Of all the talent, the most popular act on this station with 19 acts is little Don Everly, who is going to be the star of this show and we are going to have to pay him."
DON DIVIDES $5. All of this other work Don and Phil had been doing, working with their daddy, was free. They started paying Don $5 a week for this one show. Phil was too little to go out on Saturday nights with them, so Don would divide the $5 with him every week. He also split with Phil the money he made from selling pictures for 50 cents each. They put the money in the bank. I told them, "If you save that money, when you accumulate enough to get one bike, I'll buy the other bike, and you'll both have bikes." Of course, when the time came we just went and got them two bikes and they put their money into the bank.
They had a goal to shoot at. It gave them something to work for, and they really worked. Pretty soon we all got to singing, and we had a little home-recording machine. It used to be that Don and Phil would give up their playing to come in and practice and practice. We always treated them like grown people, even at that age. When we agreed to do something, we always tried to keep our word. We'd talk it over with them, saying, "If the boys are interested in a musical career and having a family act, we'll have to work." They agreed to rehearse any time necessary, and they did so - coming in from play many a time to be with us in the practice sessions.
We rehearsed until we thought we were ready, and I presented our record to the radio station. That's the way we got our family show started. Sometimes when we had boys from the neighborhood playing with Don and Phil, the other boys would go home when our boys came in to rehearse, and then later on come back to pick up their playing again.
TRAVELED IN THE SUMMER. We didn't have any trouble with school because we always stayed in one place during the school sessions. We'd have a 6 a.m. show, and the boys would go home after the show and get breakfast. Other times we had a 6:30 a.m. show, so the boys ate before the show and went to school directly from the radio station. The boys never did lose any time in school. Don finished in the normal 12-year period. We never did want to interfere with their education. Phil is completing his high school work by correspondence, and his grades have averaged 97 with the American School. He lacks only a few hours of graduation.
Whenever we took off on a trip to explore the country, it would be after school was out, and we'd go down into Indiana and work. It is the truth that my wife is responsible for their success. I've always been the kind of a fellow who is what you might call a pessimist. Things would begin to look bad, you know. We were making a good living, having plenty to eat, a nice place to live, and an automobile - but I couldn't see that we were accumulating any great future.
FAITH BEYOND WORDS. It looked to me like television was coming in and it was looking awful blue at times. I was often ready to give up - but Margaret always had that faith. It's really beyond words. She always had more faith than any one person I ever knew. Many a time she would talk to me. I was about as big a baby as the boys. Don and Phil would get disgusted and I would too. But Margaret would say, "It's getting good now. It just can't miss. Don and Phil are getting better every day. They are going to be great stars someday - and they will be in the movies." She went way yonder beyond that, and it sounded like pipe dreams to me. I'll be honest - Don and Phil have really surpassed whatever I really predicted. I always knew in my own mind that they had a wonderful talent, but I figured me being their dad, naturally I would think more about them than would the public.
I've seen them fail at times. Margaret and I would go out into a strictly country audience, and we would be the most popular. And we have been the most popular with country audiences on the radio. But I always thought the boys were good if they could do the type of music they were capable of doing. I saw they didn't need Margaret and myself any more when we went to Knoxville, Tenn., and they got to playing tunes and singing songs that were difficult for me to follow on the electric guitar. And I was considered a pretty good country guitar player, too. We'd sing hymns like "I Saw the Light" and Hank Williams' songs and we'd do what we thought good. The boys would sing them, but they would go after other types of songs. Sometimes it didn't please the sponsors. Don or Phil would say, "I'd like to sing something with more of a beat to it." It would put us in a position where we wouldn't be accepted as well. One sponsor called the boys "bobby-soxers."
COUNTRY MUSIC SOLD GROCERIES. This sponsor liked the "real country" with the banjo, you know. We realized that the real country music sold groceries to the older people, while the beat-type music appealed more to the younger folks. In my opinion, they have a different kind of country music in Knoxville than they do in any other section. We saw that the boys would do better going out on their own, so Margaret and I started going to school in Knoxville. Margaret started in a business school training to be a beautician. She'd go down to the radio station and put on a radio program and then she would go back to school. I did the same thing, attending a barber's college. We thought this type of education would give us something to fall back on to make a living - giving us a profession other than music.
Before we could get our training finished, we were out of a job at the radio station. We had to give up a house and went out to a smaller place in the country. The boys told their mother, "It's your fault. You told us we'd make it some day, going to be rich, some day." Of course they would be just kidding her, but she would reply, "Don't worry, some day we'll get back up." And after a while, we were back in the nicer house. I don't really know how we did it, but we got a nice apartment. I was the janitor for the place and Margaret cleaned up the hallways and the stairways to help pay the rent. That was about three years ago. That got the boys going back to their city high school, where they had a lot of friends.SWAP DINNER JACKET. When it came time for the boys to go to their parties, we managed to see that the boys had one formal suit to wear. They had one dinner jacket we managed to get, and they took turns going to the parties. I figure I am at the most critical time in my life. I'm too old to work and too stubborn to starve. Don finished high school in Knoxville. How he got through financially I'll never know. I got my barber's job first, and then Margaret got a beautician's job. We weren't making very much, being new had having just a few customers. You have to build up, with appointments. We made enough just to get by that winter.
We were at a critical point because Don was in his last year to graduate and we wouldn't dare take Don out of high school. That's why we stayed longer in Knoxville although we weren't making very much. Don and Phil weren't doing any other work, and we were laid off, just after school ended. Chester Atkins happened to come to Knoxville on one of those "hillbilly homecomings" they have up there. I had written to Chester, and I considered him a good friend. I took Don and Phil down to see Chester, and told him "I don't have any chance to do anything about it, but I think the boys have got talent and some good songs. I wonder if you would be so kind to help them if they came to Nashville and help make them get acquainted with somebody who could do something."
Chester told me he thought he knew everybody in the music business there and that if we'd send them to Nashville, he would listen to them and make them acquainted with everybody, doing everything he could to help them. And so Margaret came to Nashville and took the two boys. You might say they didn't have any more than expenses down here. She got a good job as a beautician. She rented an apartment for the boys and took them to Chester and set the whole thing up for them.
'YOU'LL BE GREAT'. She told the boys to work with Chester and with the folks he made them acquainted with and told them, "Do these things, and you'll be great. Nothing can stop you." She still had all that faith that had brought us along for years. I doubt if I could have done the same thing myself. I just stayed in Knoxville and worked in the barber shop, while Margaret worked as a beautician in Nashville. Chester did an awful lot for the boys. Another boy who gave them a lot of help before Don and Phil were ever known is Bob Jennings, disc jockey at WCLA. He's a real nice fellow, who believed in our boys and had great faith in them before many persons had heard about them.
Don and Phil recorded a session for Columbia Records, but that was a heartbreaker. They took home a dub that night after the session and played it. The boys would shake their heads and say it wouldn't click. I shook my head, too, but Margaret wouldn't. She said, "I don't believe in admitting anything like that." Their first songs on record were "The Sun Keeps Shining" and "Loving Me". I thought Don and Phil could do better, and I didn't think the sound had anything. I admitted to them it was "pretty good," but it really hurt me that they didn't do as good as I thought they were capable of doing. But, Margaret said, "It's fine. Don't run it down." She regarded it as a good stepping stone to something better. Columbia released this disc, but it didn't sell. The other record made at the session never has been released.
WILBURNS BOOSTED MORALE. At that time the Wilburn Brothers, Teddy and Doyle, talked to Don and Phil and told them to keep on trying. They recalled some of their own heartbreaking experiences and were a big help to our boys in building their morale. Wesley Rose drew the attention of Archie Bleyer, president of Cadence Records in New York, and he booked the boys for a record session. The day before this session they met Boudleaux Bryant and heard "Bye, Bye Love," written by Boudleaux and his wife, Felice. They sang this at their first record session for Archie. On the other side of "Bye, Bye Love" was a song written by Don and Phil, "I wonder If I Care as Much."
As soon as "Bye, Bye Love" broke, it began to climb and soon sold a million records. Later came "Wake Up, Little Suzie" by Boudleaux and Felice. It also sold a million in short order. On the other side was "Maybe Tomorrow by Don and Phil. W.D. Kilpatrick, general director of "Grand Ole Opry" signed the boys as Opry regulars. Next was an album, which included "This Little Girl of Mine" by Ray Charles, "Should I Tell Him?" by Don and Phil, "Sun Keeps Shining" and "Keep A Lovin' Me" by Don, and "Live I Have to Live, also recorded earlier by Justin Tubb. Don and Phil wrote this song.
Martin Alberts' Photo Site.
Another Look at the Every BrothersThe Everly Brothers were not only among the most important and best early rock & roll stars, but also among the most influential rockers of any era. They set unmatched standards for close, two-part harmonies, and infused early rock & roll with some of the best elements of country and pop music. Their legacy was and is felt enormously in all rock acts that employ harmonies as prime features, from the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and legions of country-rockers to modern-day roots rockers like Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe (who once recorded an EP of Everlys songs together).
Don (born February 1, 1937) and Phil (born January 19, 1939) were professionals way before their teens, schooled by their accomplished guitarist father Ike, and singing with their family on radio broadcasts in Iowa. In the mid-'50s, they made a brief stab at conventional Nashville country with Columbia. When their single flopped, they were cast adrift for quite a while until they latched onto Cadence. Don invested their first single for the label, "Bye Bye Love," with a Bo Diddley beat that helped lift the song to number two in 1957.
"Bye Bye Love" began a phenomenal three-year string of classic hit singles for Cadence, including "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Bird Dog," "('Til) I Kissed You," and "When Will I Be Loved." The Everlys sang of young love with a heart-rending yearning and compelling melodies. The harmonies owed audible debts to Appalachian country music, but were imbued with a keen modern pop sensibility that made them more accessible without sacrificing any power or beauty. They were not as raw as the wild rockabilly men from Sun Records, but they could rock hard when they wanted. Even their mid-tempo numbers and ballads were executed with a force missing in the straight country and pop tunes of the era. The duo enjoyed a top-notch support team of producer Archie Bleyer, great Nashville session players like Chet Atkins, and the brilliant songwriting team of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Don, and occasionally Phil, wrote excellent songs of their own as well.
In 1960, the Everlys left Cadence for a lucrative contract with the then-young Warner Bros. label (though it's not often noted, the Everlys would do a lot to establish Warners as a major force in the record business). It's sometimes been written that the duo never recaptured the magic of their Cadence recordings, but actually Phil and Don peaked both commercially and artistically with their first Warners releases. "Cathy's Clown," their first Warners single, was one of their greatest songs and a number-one hit. Their first two Warners LPs, employing a fuller and brasher production than their Cadence work, were not just among their best work, but two of the best rock albums of the early '60s. The hits kept coming for a couple of years, some great ("Walk Right Back," "Temptation"), some displaying a distressing, increasing tendency toward soft pop and maudlin sentiments ("Ebony Eyes," "That's Old Fashioned").
Don and Phil's personal lives came under a lot of stress in the early '60s: They joined the US Marine Corps Reserves, went through boot camp in San Diego and took further training at Camp Pendleton (6 months total), but never made a motion picture. More seriously, Don developed an addiction to speed and almost died of an overdose in late 1962. By that time, their career as chart titans in the U.S. had ended; "That's Old Fashioned" (1962) was their last Top Ten hit. Their albums became careless, erratic affairs, which was all the more frustrating because many of their flop singles of the time were fine, even near-classic efforts that demonstrated they could still deliver the goods.
Virtually alone among first-generation rock & roll superstars, the Everlys stuck with no-nonsense rock & roll and remained determined to keep their sound contemporary, rather than drifting toward soft pop or country like so many others. Although their mid-'60s recordings were largely ignored in America, they contained some of their finest work, including a ferocious Top 40 single in 1964 ("Gone, Gone, Gone"). They remained big stars overseas in 1965, "Price of Love" went to number two in the U.K. at the height of the British Invasion. They incorporated jangling Beatle/Byrdesque guitars into some of their songs, and recorded a fine album with the Hollies (who were probably more blatantly influenced by the Everlys than any other British band of the time). In the late '60s, they helped pioneer country-rock with the 1968 album Roots, their most sophisticated and unified full-length statement. None of this revived their career as hit-makers, though they could always command huge audiences on international tours, and hosted a network TV variety show in 1970.
The decades of enforced professional togetherness finally took their toll on the pair in the early '70s, which saw a few dispirited albums and, finally, an acrimonious breakup in 1973. They spent the next decade performing solo, which only proved as is so often the case in close-knit artistic partnerships how much each brother needed the other to sound his best. In 1983, enough water had flowed under the bridge for the two to resume performing and recording together. The tours, with a backup band led by guitarist Albert Lee, proved they could still sing well. The records (both live and studio) were fair efforts that, in the final estimation, were not in nearly the same league as their '50s and '60s classics, although Paul McCartney penned a small hit single for them ("On the Wings of a Nightingale"). One of the more successful and dignified reunions in the rock annals, the Everlys continued to perform live, although they have not recorded an album since the late 1980s.
Courtesy: Richie Unterberger
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