Basic Biittner : End of an Era

Monday, January 20, 2014

One of the true pioneers of Rock and Roll, Phil Everly, passed away recently. He and his older brother Don brought beautiful harmony vocals to the mix of Country, Rhythm and Blues and Gospel music that became known as Rock and Roll, and the world of pop music enjoyed the blend of Don and Phil's voices for almost 60 years. Not to mention the voices of many musicians who were strongly influenced by the duo, including The Beatles, The Hollies, Crosby,Stills and Nash and Simon and Garfunkel, to name just a few.

Phil (left) and Don Everly

The Everlys hit their peak in the late 50s and early 60s, and had a real on-and-off career after that, but I was fortunate enough to see Don and Phil perform on two occasions, and their harmonies were just as note perfect in person as they were on record.

The first time I saw and heard the Everly Brothers perform was at the Clay County Fair many years ago, and I remember the Mayor of the town of the nearby town of Everly Iowa presenting the duo with the key to the city. No report on whether or not they ever used the key ...

The second occasion was about 10 years ago, when Simon and Garfunkel had a reunion tour of their own and the duo who inspired them, The Everly Brothers, were also on the bill. The two legendary duos even performed a couple of songs together, and we were fortunate enough to see one of their concert appearances in Minneapolis.

I also remember that when I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland several years ago, among the items on display were elementary grade report cards of the Everly Brothers from Shenandoah, Iowa. As I recall, the boys both received 'A's' in music. Don and Phil lived in Iowa for a brief time when their parents, who were country musicians, were regulars on the Shenandoah radio station, and among the 100+ recordings of the Everly Brothers that I possess, the earliest is a recording of Phil, age 11, and Don, age 13, singing a tune on their parents' show. Priceless.

Though the Everly Brothers will never appear or record together again, we are blessed that they have left behind such gorgeous musical memories. Rest In Peace, Phil.