The Everly Brothers

Don Everly, of The Everly Brothers fame, died last month. His brother Phil died in 2014. Those reading this probably need no introduction to their work. They influenced everybody. The Beatles, The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, just to name a few. Our man Bob said, “We owe these guys everything. They started it all.”  

Their music didn’t seem to affect Dylan directly. Dylan’s rough, loose style is almost the polar opposite of the Everly’s. Their roots are surprisingly similar though. The Everly’s had a direct – even more direct than Dylan – connection to the roots of folk and country music. 

The brother’s father, Ike, was a coal miner from Kentucky. Don was actually born in a coal miner’s camp. Their father was taught guitar by Arnold Schultz, a black musician who taught Bill Monroe. Ike was able to successfully transition to a career in music, writing songs that were recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash and Merle Travis. He also had his own local radio program.  

The brother’s first album made them stars. It included landmark recordings such as Wake Up Little Susie and Bye Bye Love. But their second album, Songs our Daddy Taught Us, reveals the deep connection – similar to Dylan’s – they had with the roots music. It included many songs very familiar to Dylan, such as Roving Gambler, Who’s Going to Shoe Your Pretty Feet, and Barbara Allen. Although their sounds are quite different, Dylan and the Everly’s share common background.  

The Everly Brothers covered a few Dylan songs. 

Dylan has paid tribute to the Everly’s. He included Let It Be Me on Self Portrait (btw – not written by the Everly’s – it’s a French song). He also recorded Take a Message to Mary for the same album (He changes Mary to Maria, which sounds better to me).

Dylan and Harrison played All I Have to Do Is Dream at a recording session (skip to around the 7:20 mark). Pretty ragged.

Dylan performed When Will I Be Loved in his film Renaldo and Clara.

Dylan also wrote a song explicitly for the Everly’s, The Fugivite (See Further Reading/Wanted Man). I haven’t heard it.

No post next week – on vacation.

Further Reading

3 thoughts on “The Everly Brothers”

  1. That alleged quote from Bob about “we owe them..they started it all” is quoted all the time, but nobody ever says where it comes from, except other people supposedly quoting it. Any idea exactly where and when he said that?

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