The Everly Brothers' Lasting Influence

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Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones released 'Foreverly,' a tribute to the Everly Brothers, in Nov. 2013.

Phil and Don Everly rode the top of the charts for much of the late 1950's and early ‘60s. With Phil’s passing Jan. 3 at age 74, the music world paused to reflect on the duo’s look, their notorious breakup and later reunion, and of course their sound.

On songs like “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Cathy’s Clown” and “Let It Be Me,” the Everly Brothers could be moving, eerie and subtle. So subtle, in fact that it can be easy to underestimate the impact the siblings had on multiple generations of rock, folk and pop musicians.

Their influence is particularly powerful because many of their young fans would later become influential in their own right, says Craig Havighurst, co-host and blogger for the syndicated Americana radio program and webcast Music City Roots. Those (once) young fans included The Beatles, The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, and Simon & Garfunkel.

The Everlys “sort of codified a kind of singing that would stand for intimacy and really reach people with its purity and its phrasing,” says Havighurst.


We asked Havighurst to name five favorite artists whose music bears the stamp of The Everly Brothers. Here’s what he picked: 


Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, "Love Hurts" from Grievous Angel (1974)


Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, "I Want To Sing That Rock & Roll" from Time (The Revelator) (2001)


The Gibson Brothers, "I'm Dying For Someone To Live For" from They Call It Music (2013)


Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong, "Kentucky" from Foreverly (2013)



The Milk Carton Kids, "Snake Eyes" from The Ash & Clay (2013)