October 2, 1986: Everly Brothers Get Hollywood Star

Share This:

The Everly Brothers with Tom Petty, Oct. 2, 1986

What would rock ’n’ roll music be like if it were not for the Everly Brothers? Perhaps a whole lot less vocal harmonies. Count such pivotal acts as the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Hollies, Simon & Garfunkel, the Bee Gees and Eagles as artists who were influenced by the close harmony singing of Don and Phil Everly.

On hand for the brothers’ big day was Tom Petty, who briefly spoke. “It’s a great honor for Don and Phil to ask me here today. And it’s so nice to see an award like this to go to people who deserve it.”

With family roots in the mountains of Muhlenberg, KY, Don and Phil grew up in Iowa singing on the radio with their guitarist/singer father Ike and singing mother Margaret. The family later moved to Knoxville, TN where they were discovered by Chet Atkins.

After a false start on Columbia Records the brothers were signed by Wesley Rose to Acuff-Rose Music as songwriters; the deal also gave the Everlys access to the wife/husband/songwriting team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, whose “Bye Bye Love” took them into the Top 10 as a #2 pop single, and also #1 country and #5 R&B in 1957. The duo’s next 45, “Wake Up Little Susie” also by the Bryants, hit #1 on all three charts.

EverlysFrom ’57 into the early 1960s, Don and Phil were a consistent presence in the Top 10 and genuine pop stars. Their other hits by the Bryants include “All I Have to Do is Dream” (another three chart #1 in 1958), “Bird Dog” and “Problems” (both #2 pop chart singles in ’58). The Everlys wrote such hits of their own as “(Till) I Kissed You” (#4 in ’59), the 1960 Top 10s “Cathy’s Clown” (#1), “When Will I Be Loved” (#8) and “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)” (#7). They also reached #7 in 1960 with the translation of a 1955 French pop hit “Let It Be Me” and the next year #7 with “Walk Right Back” by Sonny Curtis (who also wrote the rock classic “I Fought the Law”).

The hits dried up through the rest of the 1960s although the brothers continued to enjoy popularity in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. By 1973, rising tensions between Don and Phil led them to split and pursue solo careers. Ten years later they reunited for a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall that became a live album that’s the best overall compendium of their work. In 1984 they returned to the studio with their acolyte Dave Edmunds producing for EB ’84, which included a song written for them by Paul McCartney, “On the Wings of a Nightingale,” that reached #50 on the pop charts and #9 adult contemporary.

Watch the Walk of Fame ceremony

In addition to the Hollywood Walk of Fame star, the Everly Brothers were among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Phil Everly died on Jan. 3, 2014. Brother Don died on Aug. 21, 2021.

Their music has become timeless as it continues to enjoy golden oldie stature and echo through the many artists they inspired.

Related: First-generation rockers: Who’s still with us?

Best Classic Bands Staff

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.