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Paul McCartney pays emotional tribute to 'my great hero' Phil Everly

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On his official website Jan. 8, Paul McCartney said in a statement that Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, who died Jan. 3 at age 74, was one of his personal heroes and a huge influence for the Beatles.

"Phil Everly was one of my great heroes. With his brother Don, they were one of the major influences on The Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don,” he said in the statement.

"Years later when I finally met Phil, I was completely starstruck 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."

The Everly Brothers paid a big role not only in the Beatles' music, but also the Rolling Stones' as well. Former Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, in his autobiography “Stoned,” says the group's tour with the Everlys was a pivotal point in their development.

“The Rolling Stones themselves were struggling with the physical and emotional demands of their first tours. If the Stones thought the ballroom trek with its alien and indifferent audiences was an ordeal, they were about to find the meaning of real work. On 29 September they embarked on the Everly Brothers' theater tour. The schedule was exhausting with two shows a night and only three travel days off in a relentless thirty-two day schedule.

“The tour with Don and Phil was, to the young Stones, what Hamburg had been for the even younger Beatles, and it is hard to see how they could have become the most durable touring band of all time if they had not suffered this thankless first rung. Night after night, they fought to win over audiences that, at best found them a poor substitute for the Beatles. I may have emphasized the Stones' roughness, but it was the road that brought out and hardened their toughness.”

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