Don Everly of rock 'n' roll pioneers The Everly Brothers dies at 84

·4 min read

Don Everly, of the famed Everly Brothers, has died at 84.

A rep for the family confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Don died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday.

Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Phil Everly and Don Everly

Don, and his late brother Phil, made up the harmonious Everly Brothers, known for songs like "All I Have to do is Dream," "Bye Bye Love" (their first single), "Cathy's Clown," "Wake Up Little Susie," and "When Will I Be Loved."

"Don lived by what he felt in his heart. Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams ... with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother," read a statement to the Times from the family.

The highly influential early rock 'n' roll siblings found success in the 1950s and 1960s, but as the sixties really took shape with the British Invasion, Beatlmania, and hippie/counterculture movements, the Everlys found themselves in an odd spot, Don once said.

"When Phil and I started out, everyone hated rock & roll," Don once told Rolling Stone. "The record companies didn't like it at all – felt it was an unnecessary evil. And the press: interviewers were always older than us, and they let you know they didn't like your music, they were just doing the interview because it was their job. Then along came the Sixties, and everyone suddenly got real young, and if you were over thirty, they didn't trust you.

Phil said he felt like he didn't fit in with the times.

"The Sixties weren't my cup of tea," he told Rolling Stone. "I never bought that philosophy that, you know, we're all brothers and that'll solve everything. And I never believed that music dictated the times. I always thought it reflected them. We were against the grain in that period, and there was a lot of confusion about our direction. Maybe we were just losing the freshness of it all, losing interest."

The Everly Brothers and their music were hugely influential -- including on two young songwriters from Liverpool, England -- Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the Beatles. Addressing Phil's passing back in 2014, McCartney shared his admiration and praise for the group.

"When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don," McCartney said in a Facebook post at the time. "Years later, when I finally met Phil, I was completely star-struck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul. I will always love him for giving me some of the sweetest musical memories of my life."

Neil Young inducted the Everly Brothers into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, alongside a prestigious first class of music icons, including Chuck Berry, James Brown, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Ray Charles.

Don and Phil broke up the band in 1973 (Phil famously smashed a guitar on stage in Southern California), and Don pursued solo success, releasing several albums, and also working with British guitarist Albert Lee.

The Everly Brothers reunited a decade later, beginning with two reunion shows at the Royal Albert Hall, in London. McCartney also ended up penning a song for the pair -- "On the Wings of a Nightingale," featured on their album EB84, after a request from musician and producer Dave Edmunds.

"Dave said it was the hardest phone call he ever made, because McCartney is always being asked for something," Don previously told Rolling Stone. "Paul said if he could come up with anything, he'd give a call. Dave forgot about it, but about six weeks later, the phone rang, and it was McCartney. He said, 'I think I've got one.'"

Younger Everly Brother, Phil, died in 2014 at the age of 74, due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the LA Times previously reported.

Dave Davies, one half of The Kinks, reacted to Don's passing via Twitter on Sunday, writing, "Very sad day. Both of the Everlys were part of my musical life growing up. We were inspired by their wonderful records and their singing and their voices. Wake Up Little Suzie was my favorite as a kid. #DonEverlyRIP #doneverly."

Other artists shared their condolences after hearing the news of Don's death.

Related content:

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting