Saturday, January 4, 2014

RIP Phil Everly

Like most people who have been around for a few decades, I was thoroughly familiar with the Every Brothers' music, but it's been a few years since I've listened to any of those great songs. The recent death of Phil Everly made me go back and listen again, as often happens when a musician dies. I'm not sure why it takes a death to remind us of the exceptional talent of someone like Phil and Don, but hearing those songs again reminds me how spectacular the brothers were when they sang together.

If you listen carefully, you hear Phil's high tenor harmony that could easily have stood alone as a melody line, in contrast to most harmony vocals, which tend to be not as melodic. Don usually sang the solo parts, but when Phil added his smooth voice, it blended into the incredible, memorable phenomenon that was the Everly Brothers.

"Phil Everly was one of the most understated and supremely inspired performers I've ever known," wrote Rodney Crowell on his Facebook page, echoing what I was thinking as I began to write this piece. "We can all be thankful that his time on earth is so well documented in song."

There is no question that Phil and Don's vocal styles and harmonies were tremendously influential for many groups to follow, including Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Hollies, The Byrds, and the Beach Boys. If you haven't listened to Phil and Don for a while, click on these videos and immerse yourself in the music – the unforgettable artistry of one of the greatest vocal duos of all time.

Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.

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