Phil Everly – one half of legendary rock ‘n’ roll duo The Everly Brothers – has died.
Born in Kentucky, Phil Everly was raised in a musical environment. Almost from the moment he could speak, the aspiring musician was a part of his family’s travelling group soaking up influences from countless different environments.
Close to his brother Don, the two would branch off as teenagers to form The Everly Brothers. In tune with rising rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly styles, their close harmony singing – inspired by country – would mark them out from the off.
Rejected by some thirty other artists, breakthrough single ‘Bye Bye Love’ would rocket the pair to stardom and establish a pattern they would follow throughout their career. Packed with nods towards the R&B world, Don would take the higher melody line while Phil would work the lower. Yet the two were equal: both work in tandem, but establish a near unique independence.
Signing to Warner Brothers in 1960, The Everly Brothers would find lasting success in Canada and – notably – the UK, where the beat boom would find the duo lauded as pioneers. 1968’s ‘Roots’ album found the duo returning to their original love of country, yet given a refreshingly modern update.
With their relationship stretched through long years of touring, Don and Phil Everly would become estranged throughout the 70s. Guitarist Albert Lee persuaded the two to re-unite, and their 1983 comeback concert at the Royal Albert Hall would spawn a successful live album.
Continuing to tour, The Everly Brothers enjoyed one final major chart impact with 1984’s ‘On The Wings Of A Nightingale’ – written by Sir Paul McCartney.
A lifelong smoker, Phil Everly died due to complications from lung disease with wife Patti commenting “We are absolutely heartbroken”.