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Bye Bye Love

The Everly Brothers' flawless harmony charmed a generation.

The Everly Brothers’ flawless harmony charmed a generation.

In this country nothing defines generations quite so clearly as the music they love.

For my father’s generation it was the big dance bands that played swing music with full horn sections, driving rhythms and sweet melodies. I like that kind of music, but it was never mine.

It wasn’t until I heard the Everly Brothers on the radio that I began to sing along.

Bye bye happiness. Hello loneliness. I think I’m gonna cry.

The words may be simplistic. The harmony was unforgettable. For those who had the good fortune to hear the Everly Brothers when they first came on the scene, it was a joy ride.

These days music is embedded into every aspect of modern life. It’s piped into every public space, it’s easily available on countless portable devises, it streams constantly in the air. But in the fifties, when the Everly Brothers burst into song there were fewer sources for live music and tighter control over recorded music.

The Everly Brothers inspired thousands of young men to pick up guitars and start strumming. But while others attempted to copy their harmonies, no one ever did it better.

In the memorial coverage since Phil Everly’s passing on January 3rd at age 74, mention has been made of the friction that existed between the famous brothers in the later part of their lives. While it’s disappointing that they weren’t always as harmonious off-stage as they were on it, perhaps it’s inevitable that some discord would breed in such a long and close partnership.

At the height of their success they were almost never seen apart. In hundreds of photographs they appear joined at the shoulder, Don always on the right, younger brother Phil always on the left. When contractual disputes and the stresses of touring and performing grew, they still had to maintain that facade of Everlys, together forever. Until now.

But I will never forget how fresh and beautiful they sounded. All I have to do is dream.

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