Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
This weekend we lost a pioneer in two musical genres. Isaac Donald “Don” Everly died August 21 at the age of 84. Born February 1, 1937 in Kentucky he and his younger brother, Phil (January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014), were a trailblazing duo in both country music & the birth of the rock & roll era who used harmonizing vocals to create their signature sound. Don sang lead and Phil provided the harmony.
The two men started singing with their parents on their father’s radio show on KMA in Iowa in the 1940’s as The Everly Family. They moved to TN in the early 1950’s where the brothers pursued music full time once Don graduated from high school in 1955. They were soon discovered by guitarist Chet Atkins who helped introduce them to Acuff Rose publishers & the songwriting team of Boudleaux Bryant.
They wrote the brothers’ first hits in 1957, “Bye Bye Love” (a cross over hit on both the country & rock & roll charts) & “Wake Up Little Susie”. The duo was also the first to record the Boudleaux Bryant song “Love Hurts” in 1960 before it became a hit for Roy Orbison a year later. The boys did write some of their own songs including “Cathy’s Clown” (1960, written by Don) & “When Will I be Loved” (1960, written by Phil).
The brothers success led to their 1960 contract with Warner Brothers Records for one million dollars. At that time it was an unprecedented amount of money for a rock & roll act and would keep the boys with the label for ten years. But the unrelenting work schedule took its toll on the duo. So did contract disputes, sibling rivalry, drug use and more which led their official break up in 1973. They did reunite a decade later but their relationship remained strained.
Some of the biggest names in music were fans of The Everly Brothers. In his 1976 Wings song “Let ‘Em In”, Paul McCartney mentioned the duo by their first names (“…Martin Luther, Phil and Don”). George Harrison recorded a demo of today’s song that was included on his 2012 posthumous album, Early Takes: Volume. His friend & Traveling Wilbury bandmate Bob Dylan covered today’s song for his 1970 album, Self-Portrait. Both Everly Brothers sang on the track “Graceland” by another of their admirers, Paul Simon. In 1986 they were a part of the inaugural class inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame by Neil Young.
Today’s song was based on a French recording of “Je t’appartiens” from 1955. It was a Top Ten hit for the brothers in 1959. As much fun as their faster songs are, I think it is the ballads that show off their vocal harmonies best. Rest in peace, Don Everly.
“Each time we meet love
I find complete love
Without your sweet love
What would life be“.
Don (L) and Phil Everly circa 1957. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
The Everly Brothers: “Let It Be Me” (1959, written by Gilbert Bécaud (music), Manny Curtis (English lyrics) and Pierre Delanoë (French lyrics).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.