When most people think of the catchiest tunes from the ‘50s and ‘60s, odds are good that they remember hits by Phil and Don Everly, best known as The Everly Brothers. With a dazzling career that spanned over half a century, these Iowa-raised brothers with a stirring, two-part harmony churned out 21 studio albums that topped the Billboard charts and broadly influenced the path of American rock ‘n’ roll.
Southern Nevada audiences can relive the duo’s jubilant melodies on September 7 at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, when another pair of gifted brothers, vocalist-guitarists Zachary and Dylan Zmed, will give two performances of their acclaimed tribute show “The Everly Brothers Experience,” honoring the band’s history and many beloved songs.
To test your knowledge of the Everly Brothers’ legacy, read below some surprising stories behind their biggest hits.
While this jaunty tune might sound innocent to today’s ear, the catchy melody roused tempers in the ‘50s. Some radio stations banned the song, from concern that its story of falling asleep in a movie theater was sexually suggestive. Americans apparently overcame any sensitivities, as the song peaked at No. 1 on the pop, country and R&B singles charts. It also prompted a smash cover by Simon and Garfunkel in the 1980s and is ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
This melody not only demonstrated the brothers’ lively musical abilities, but also their good taste. This song had been rejected by 30 other artists before the Everly Brothers jumped on recording it, which launched and secured the duo’s status as a nationally known band that topped the charts. The song rocketed to the top five on the country, pop and R&B charts, which cemented the brothers’ popularity across all three styles.
It’s no wonder this light and romantic ballad continues to induce sighs to this day, as it was penned by married songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. This tune served as a benchmark of the Everly Brothers’ career, as the duo’s final song to top the pop, country and R&B charts.
Hailed as the Everly Brothers’ most successful hit single, this tune reflects Don Everly’s musical prowess, as he composed its melody and drum line by taking inspiration from Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite, a beloved American orchestral piece. This song marked the first tune to climb pop charts in America and the United Kingdom at once, and even influenced a popular Beatles single, “Please Please Me.”
This rocking, country-tinged tune reveals the Everly Brothers’ musical roots from their Nashville country-style beginnings. Phil Everly wrote the song, and while the brothers’ original climbed to No. 8 on the Billboard chart, Linda Ronstadt would jump the tune up to No. 1 on the country chart and No. 2 on the pop chart with her 1975 cover that rearranged the order of the lyrics.
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