Saturday, January 4, 2014

Loss Hurts: Rest in Peace Phil Everly

In 1959, he served as a pallbearer at Buddy Holly’s funeral and now nearly 55 years later Phil Everly has gone on to his reward. A lifelong smoker, Phil Everly died yesterday from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; he was 74. Collectively, Phil and his older brother Don were the chart making Everly Brothers. Don generally sang lead while Phil contributed the high tenor harmony. Their sound and style influenced quite a few of the second generation of rock musicians and that influence carries over to the present.

Phil Everly playing his Gibson Everly Brothers model guitar.

During their career, the duo had 27 Top 40 hits, 12 country hits, nine R&B hits, four adult contemporary hits, and three Top 20 albums. Of those, the Everly Brothers had five US number one hits – with three simultaneously charting at the top position on more than one chart. Two of the three were number one records on the pop, country, and R&B charts. All five of their number one singles were certified gold in the US. Their biggest hit, “Cathy’s Clown,” sold 8 million units.

As a tribute to Phil, and in keeping with our normal Saturday “Bubbling Under Feature,” I did not select one of their hits, but rather an album cut that was originally recorded by the duo, but became a hit for the rock band Nazareth in 1975. “Love Hurts,” penned by Boudleaux Bryant, is today’s featured song.

As for the Bryants, Boudleaux and his wife Felice wrote a string of hits for The Everlys that included the following: “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have to do is Dream,” “Bird Dog,” and “Problems” to name a few. “Love Hurts” was included on the Everlys’ second Warner Brothers’ album: “A Date with the Everly Brothers.”

Shortly after the December 1960 release of the album, Roy Orbison recorded “Love Hurts” as a single, but it failed to chart in the US. Previously, Orbison had penned the Everly’s 1958 hit “Claudette.”

Although the brothers have not charted since the 1980s, they have performed together since the 1950s – with the exception of a decade long estrangement from 1973 to 1983. Yesterday, the world lost a great voice with the death of the first rock ‘n roll star of this new year. May we never forget Phil Everly’s contributions to modern music.

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