Don and Phil's father, Ike, and mother, Margaret, were musicians and the brothers cut their performing teeth alongside their parents in a combo called the Everly Family. The band had a radio show on KMA and KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa in the 1940s, while touring in the south and the midwest.
The Everly's cousin, James Best, is an American actor, best known for his starring role as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in the CBS television series The Dukes of Hazzard.
Family friend Chet Atkins helped the Everly Brothers secure their first recording contract with Columbia Records. However their first single, "Keep A' Lovin' Me," flopped and the label dropped them.
Atkins continued to encourage the brothers, and helped them get a deal with Acuff/Rose as songwriters. Soon afterwards, Wesley Rose introduced them to Archie Bleyer, who was looking for artists for his Cadence Records label. The Everlys signed to Cadence and their first single, "Bye Bye Love
," topped the Country charts, and reached #2 on the Pop charts.
The Everly brothers toured extensively with Buddy Holly
during 1957 and 1958. Phil Everly was one of Holly's pallbearers at his funeral, although Don did not attend.
The Everlys switched from the Cadence label to Warner Brothers in 1960, for a deal which was reputed to be the first million-dollar contract in music history.
Phil and Don enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in November 1961 for six months as an alternative to being drafted separately for two-year periods in the army.
The Everly Brothers' career slumped in their home country in the wake of the British Invasion in 1964. However they retained a faithful following in countries including Canada, Australia and Britain. They scored nine Top 40 hits in the UK between 1963 and 1965, including the self-penned "The Price Of Love
" and a cover of Mickey and Sylvia's "Love Is Strange
The Everly Brothers ended their partnership in 1973 after a gig on July 14, 1973, at Knotts Berry Farm in California, at which Phil smashed his guitar and stormed off the stage.
Embarking on a solo career, Phil charted three times as a solo artist with the #37 peaking "Who's Gonna Keep Me Warm" being his biggest hit. He also had a Top Ten entry in 1983 on the UK singles chart with "She Means Nothing To Me," a duet with Cliff Richard.
The brothers reunited in 1983, when they appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The concert spawned a well-received live LP and video.
The Everly Brothers were part of the first group of ten artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
"Wake Up Little Susie" and "Bye Bye Love" were both covered by Simon & Garfunkel
, who took the Everlys out as special guests on their 2003-04 reunion tour.
In November 2013, Norah Jones
and Green Day
frontman Billie Joe Armstrong teamed up for a tribute album, Foreverly
, a track-by-track recreation of the Everly Brothers' 1958 LP Songs Our Daddy Taught Us
Phil Everly passed away aged 74 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to Phil's wife Patti, his ailment was an effect of a lifetime of smoking cigarettes.