Phil and Don Everly in 2003 (Ebet Roberts/Redferns)Here’s wishing a very happy 80th birthday to Don Everly, the surviving half of the country-influenced early rock ‘n’ roll duo The Everly Brothers, who was born on this day in 1937 in Brownie, Kentucky.
Together with his younger brother Phil, Don scored a string of major hits in the late ’50s and early ’60s, including such classics as “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Cathy’s Clown” and “Bird Dog.” The brothers’ tight harmonies and melodic tunes influenced many other famous artists, including The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys and The Hollies.
The duo had its last top 40 single in 1967 with “Bowling Green.” In 1973, Don had an acrimonious split with Phil and the brothers reportedly didn’t speak to each other for a decade. They reunited in 1983, and had a minor hit the following year with the Paul McCartney-penned tune “On the Wings of a Nightingale.”
The Everly Brothers were part of the inaugural class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 1986. In addition, Don and Phil hold the record for the most Top 100 singles by any music duo, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and they have also been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
In 2003, the brothers toured with Simon & Garfunkel as their special guests. They played their last show together in 2005 in Ipswich, U.K. Phil died at age 74 in January 2014 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Don last notable public appearance came in October 2014, when he took part in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Music Masters tribute to The Everly Brothers, during which he sang “Bye Bye Love.”
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