Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers died Friday in Burbank, California of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the L.A. Times. He was 74 years old.
Phil and his brother Don made up the Everly Brothers, one of the most important groups of the early rock and roll era; they were a huge influence on, among others, the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
Everly’s wife, Patti Everly, told the LA Times that “We are absolutely heartbroken,” noting that his disease was the result of a lifetime of cigarette smoking.
Some of the duo’s biggest hits included “Cathy’s Clown,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” “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 reunion tour. Another notable cover was Linda Ronstadt’s “When Will I Be Loved,” from her 1974 classic album Heart Like A Wheel.
As always, celebrities are beginning to tweet their condolences; one of the most poignant came from Benmont Tench of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers: “Enough cannot be said about Phil Everly. This is a great, great loss. Without the Everlys, this musical world would be very, very different.”
The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first class in 1986, along with Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, James Brown, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Fats Domino. But their relevance and influence is still felt today: in November of 2013, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Norah Jones released a duets album, Foreverly, a tribute to the Everlys’ 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.
In addition to his wife, Everly is survived by his brother/bandmate, Don, their mother, Margaret, sons Jason and Chris, and two granddaughters.
— Brian Ives, Radio.com