THE EVERLY BROTHERS - Part 1

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Don Everly (vocals, guitar); Phil Everly (vocals, guitar)

1955

Don (b. Isaac Donald Everly, Feb. 1, 1937, Brownie, KY) and Phil (b. Jan. 19, 1939, Chicago, IL), who, aged six and eight, appeared on the Earl May Seed Company radio show, becoming known as Little Donnie & Baby Boy Phil, are the sons of radio performers Ike & Margaret Everly, and have appeared on their parents’ shows on stations in Iowa (notably the weekly “Little Donnie” showcase, broadcast by the family when they lived in Shenandoah, IA) and in Knoxville, TN, where they now live. In the hope of either selling some of their compositions or making their own demo to secure a recording deal, the brothers go to Nashville, TN. With the help of his father’s friend, Chet Atkins, Don places Thou Shalt Not Steal with a publisher for $600 (to be recorded by Kitty Wells) and the duo is offered a session with CBS/Columbia Records. (The first recording by either brother was actually made by Don in the early ’50s in Chicago, where the family lived temporarily, his version of the Mills Brothers’ Paper Doll hit, recorded into a message machine.)

Nov [9] The Everly Brothers make their first studio recordings, four tracks cut in 22 minutes, with country singer Carl Smith’s backing band, at Nashville's Old Tulane Hotel studios.

1956

Feb Columbia releases two original Everlys’ country songs, Keep A-Lovin' Me and The Sun Keeps Shining. as a double A-side, but they fail to sell. Further tracks from the session, If Her Love Isn't True and That's The Life I Have To Lead, are shelved. Columbia passes on its option, and the brothers again make the rounds of Nashville labels, eventually, and again through Atkins, sign as staff writers by Roy Acuff and Wesley Rose’s publishing company, while Rose also becomes their manager.

1957

Mar [1] Rose has interested Archie Bleyer at New I York, NY-based Cadence Records in the duo. Bleyer is looking to add another country act to Gordon Terry, the only genre performer currently on his roster, and asks the Everlys to record a song by Felice and! Boudleaux Bryant, Bye Bye Love (which some 30 acts, including Terry, have rejected). In a session I supervised by Atkins, it is recorded at RCA’s Nashville studio, but not in a traditional country fashion. The style - close Appalachian harmonies over acoustic guitars and a rock’n’roll beat - will become the Everly Brothers’ trademark sound.

Apr They tour around Mississippi tent shows, as the single is released.

May |11] They make their debut on Nashville’s “Grand Ole Opry”.

June [17] Bye Bye Love hits US #2 for four weeks j (behind Pat Boone’s Love Letters In The Sand) and j becomes a million seller. It also hits US C&W #1 and ; R&B #5.

July [12] The Everly Brothers appear on DJ Alan Freed’s premiere ABC-TV show “The Big Beat”, j singing Bye Bye Love. Also appearing on the first show are Frankie Lymon, Buddy Knox, Connie Francis and others.

Aug Bye Bye Love, released in the UK on London label, hits #6 during a 16-week Top 30 run.

[3] Duo guests on CBS-TV’s “The Ed Sullivan Show'. singing Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie. (By the end of the year, they will have been seen on most of US TV’s top-rated variety shows, including those of Patti Page, Arthur Murray and Perry Como - the latter, also shown in the UK, offers potential British fans their first view of the Everly Brothers.)

Sept [6] “The Biggest Show Of Stars For 1957" package tour, with the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry. Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Paul Anka, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, the Drifters, Clyde McPhatter and others, opens at the Syria Mosque. Pittsburgh, PA, set to close on November 24th at the Mosque, Richmond, VA. (The white artists on the bill are unable to play on several dates because of I segregation laws which forbid black and white acts to perform on the same stage.)

Oct [ 14] Wake Up Little Susie, another Bryants’ song with a classic teen-calamity lyric (and, although hardly risque, banned from airplay in Boston), tops! the US chart for the first of two weeks and is a second million seller. It also hits C&W #1 and R&B #2.

Dec Wake Up Little Susie hits UK #2, behind Harry j Belafonte’s Mary’s Bov Child.

1958

Feb [24] This Little Girl Of Mine (a US R&B #9 for its composer, Ray Charles, in 1955), effectively combining country and rhythm and blues, reaches US #26. Their debut album, The Everly Brothers - They're Off And Running!, makes US #16.

Apr [5] They begin an 80-day North American tour in Norfolk, VA, co-starring in Irving Feld’s “Greatest

Show Of Stars” with Sam Cooke, Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon and others.

May [12] All I Have To Do Is Dream, a ballad written by the Bryants in some 15 minutes, hits US #1 for the first of four weeks, another million seller, and will prove to be their best selling Cadence single. The contrasting B-side Claudette, written by Roy Orbison about his wife and featuring frenetic strumming by the brothers on their Gibson guitars, reaches US #30. july [5] All I Have To Do Is Dream/Claudette hits UK #1, where it will stay for seven weeks (their first UK chart-topper).

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[13] A breach of contract lawsuit brought by exmanager Joanne Codi is heard in Brockton Superior Court, Brockton, MA. [28] The group performs seven songs in front of 1,500 fans at the Avalon, Boston,
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