One of their classic songs, this tune finds the Everly Brothers fed up with the constant heartache that leaves them wondering, "When will I be loved?"
The Everly Brothers had already moved from Cadence Records to Warner Bros. when their former label issued this as a single in 1960. Hoping to shift from their signature rockabilly style to mainstream pop-rock, they were already achieving their goal as the pop-oriented "Cathy's Clown
" climbed to #1. The release of "When Will I Be Loved" was not only a throwback to their old sound, but it also threatened to derail their success by splitting airplay among their other tunes. But the public couldn't get enough of the Everlys and they notched four Top 10 hits that year, including the #8 entry "When Will I Be Loved."
According to Rolling Stone, Phil Everly wrote this in his car, parked outside an A&W root beer stand. He took inspiration from his on-again, off-again romance with Jackie Ertel-Bleyer, the stepdaughter of Cadence Records founder, Archie Bleyer. Phil and Jackie got married in 1963 and divorced in 1972.
Linda Ronstadt had even greater success when she released this as the second single from her 1974 album, Heart Like A Wheel. Aside from peaking at #2 on the Hot 100, it became her first #1 hit on the Country chart.
Several other artists have recorded this, including John Denver, Tanya Tucker, Gram Parsons, Rosemary Clooney, Manfred Mann, and The Little River Band, while Dolly Parton frequently included it in her live repertoire. As part of the English folk-rock collective The Bunch, Sandy Denny and Linda Thompson covered it on the 1972 covers album, Rock On. Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds included it on their 1980 EP, Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds Sing The Everly Brothers. John Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen also recorded it as a duet for Fogerty's 2009 album, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.
Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong sang this with Miranda Lambert at the 2014 Grammy Awards in honor of Phil Everly, who died of lung disease earlier that year.
Cabaret singer Amanda McBroom sang this on the 1985 Magnum P.I. episode "Let Me Hear The Music." Jamison Belushi also performed it on her dad James Belushi's sitcom According to Jim in the 2008 episode "Jami McFame."
The song also shows up in these TV shows:
That '70s Show ("Ski Trip" – 1999)
Designing Women ("Julia and Rusty, Sittin' in a Tree" – 1991)
McCloud ("Park Avenue Pirates" – 1975)
And in these movies:
Meditation Park (2017)
When Will I Be Loved (2004)
Must Love Dogs (2005)
8 seconds (1994), sung by Vince Gill
Bull Durham (1988)