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A soulful goodbye to Phil Everly

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The passing of Phil Everly, half of the Everly brothers, and grandpa of two girls, marks the end of an era filled with happy memories and the good music that he represented.

For those of us who grew up listening to the radio, it depicted our lives in words and music, so it’s truly a sad moment in our history. We remember where we were and with whom, when we sang along to the Everly Brothers’ words of Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love, Cathy's Clown and All I Have to Do Is Dream.

Oh, to recall that harmony, sweet harmony. The Everly Brothers had a distinctive tone, and in the words of Linda Ronstadt, "The information of your DNA is carried in your voice, and you can get a sound (with family) that you never get with someone who's not blood-related to you."

Phil Everly, born on January 19, 1939, in Chicago, was the son of two country musicians, Ike and Margaret Everly. The family was a traveling act, and he and his brother performed together on a family radio show. Phil Everly died at the age of 74 on Friday in Burbank of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, after a lifetime of smoking, his wife, Patti Everly, told the Los Angeles Times.\

While perfect harmony is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think of popular music today, it’s the mark the Everly Brothers left on their music which influenced the music of the future. Bye Bye Love was the Everly Brothers’ breakthrough hit in 1957, and their first million-seller. Also in 1957, Wake Up Little Susie, about two teenagers falling asleep at the drive-in theater and waking after curfew, was banned in Boston for its slightly suggestive lyrics. It went to No. 1.

Think about the music you enjoy today and think about what influenced it. It’s music like The Everly Brothers’ that influenced The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel, as well as countless other rock, folk and country singers.\

Please join me in a fond farewell to Phil Everly, whose close-harmony singing with his older brother, Don, made the Everly Brothers one of the biggest rock and country acts of the 1950s and early 1960s.

LISTEN: 10 great covers of Everly Brothers songs.

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