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Music / The Everly Brothers

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Phil (left) and Don (right).

Dream, dream, dream, dream
Dream, dream, dream, dream
When I want you in my arms
When I want you and all your charms
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is dream
— "All I Have to Do Is Dream"

Isaac Donald "Don" Everly (February 1, 1937 August 21, 2021) and Phillip "Phil" Everly (January 9, 1939 January 3, 2014) were a pair of brothers and country-influenced Rock & Roll musicians who rose to great success in The '50s, and stood out with their powerful two-part harmonies: Don singing baritone, and Phil singing tenor. Incredibly influential, the duo were responsible for such notable hits as "Bye Bye Love", "Wake Up Little Susie", "All I Have to Do Is Dream", and "Cathy's Clown".

The duo was part of the inaugural 1986 class of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and in 2001 were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Phil Everly passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on January 3, 2014. Don died on August 21, 2021.

Tropes associated with the Everly Brothers include:

  • Also "Born Yesterday", although the video subverts the lyrics.
  • Christmas Songs: Besides the aforementioned "Christmas Eve Can Kill You", they did a 1962 album of traditional carols accompanied by the Boys Town Choir.
  • Greatest Hits Album: No shortage of these, considering their longevity. The first one popped up in 1959, and they're still pumping out a few a year as of 2013.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Their career hit a rough patch in The '60s when they struggled to stay up-to-date musically while the public seemed to only want to accept them as a nostalgic act. As a result, they went into Genre Roulette mode, trying everything from proto-Hard Rock ("The Price of Love") and Sunshine Pop ("Bowling Green", their only real hit during this period), to Bubblegum Rock ("Milk Train", written by Tony Romeo, who later wrote "I Think I Love You") and even a slight nod to Psychedelic Rock ("Mary Jane", a song about exactly what you'd guess it's about). As they moved to The '70s they went in more of a folk-country direction. Despite much critical acclaim, none of this translated to much in the way of sales.
  • No Ending: "Lord of the Manor" cuts off abruptly in the middle of the instrumental section after the second verse.
  • Not What It Looks Like: "Wake Up Little Susie" involves the singer desperately trying to figure out how he's going to get anyone to believe that there's a totally innocent explanation for why Susie's coming home six hours after her curfew (Described in Sleep Cute below).
  • Sibling Team/Sibling Rivalry: While they blended perfectly in vocal harmony, hot-blooded Don and more reserved Phil clashed constantly offstage. Tensions rose dramatically when Don briefly quit in 1962 after suffering a nervous breakdown (accelerated by an amphetamine addiction), leaving Phil to finish a British tour with their bassist taking Don's vocal parts. By The '70s, they were antsy to start solo careers and broke up after a 1973 farewell concert that ended with Phil angrily smashing his guitar and stomping offstage, leaving Don to finish the show alone. They managed to patch things up a bit by The '80s and mounted a successful reunion.
  • Shout-Out: Their song "Burma-Shave" is about the famous advertising campaign.
  • Sleep Cute: "Wake Up Little Susie" is a deconstruction of this trope, detailing an unfortunate aftermath to this:
    The movie wasn't so hot, it didn't have much of a plot
    We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot
    Wake up little Susie, wake up little Susie
    What're we gonna tell your mama, what're we gonna tell your pa
    What're we gonna tell our friends when they say "ooh-la-la"
  • Sleeping with the Boss: "Lord of the Manor" is about a maid who's having an affair with her employer, as told by the jealous gardener who's also in love with her.
  • Teenage Death Songs: "Ebony Eyes," about a soldier who finds his girl has died in a plane crash just before their wedding.
  • Tsundere: The song "Where Can I Meet Her" is written from the POV of someone with this attitude towards a Lovable Alpha Bitch, complete with lots of Hypocritical Humour.
    She comes on like she's so high-class and well-bred
    But I never saw a girl with such a swelled head
    She's got herself a mighty long wait
    If she thinks I'll ask her for a date
    But where's she live, what's her number and how can I meet her?
  • Vocal Tag Team: One of the most important in rock history. Don generally did the solo lines in songs, but Phil also took turns, and they switched harmony parts quite often.