Introduction and Early Life:
Don Everly was one half of the legendary pop-country duo the Everly Brothers. One of the great rock ‘n’ roll originals, he introduced a country style of harmony singing into the genre. Don possessed a distinctive, mellow baritone voice and played acoustic guitar on most of their records. After the duo parted ways in 1973, he pursued a moderately successful solo career.
Born in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, in 1937, his parents – Ike and Margaret Everly – were renowned country singers from the ‘1940s. Don naturally showed a musical knack from an early age. He graduated from high school in 1955. Don and his brother, Phil, started singing and playing guitar from their teenage years.
Career and Musical Achievements:
Don and Phil frequently appeared on their parents’ radio shows and accompanied them on tour. Chet Atkins, who was a family friend of the Everlys, played an instrumental role in establishing the Everly Brothers and getting them a recording contract with Cadence Records.
The major breakthrough of the Everly Brothers came in 1957 when their rendition of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant’s song “Bye Bye Love” became a smashing success. In the new few years, the duo has had a string of hit songs, including “Wake Up Little Susie”, “All I Have to Do Is Dream”, “Bird Dog”, and “Devoted to You” – all Bryant compositions. The Everly Brothers had become the world’s most popular vocal group by the end of the ’50s.
Don wrote the masterpiece “Cathy’s Clown” in 1960. The song remained number one in the U.S. for five weeks and stayed in the top of the charts in the U.K. for more than two months. It sold more than eight million copies worldwide. After coming back from their brief army stint, the brothers embarked on a European tour. Their career stalled in the mid 1960s due to various reasons and their 1966 album, Two Yanks in England, failed to chart. The duo parted ways after releasing a series of unsuccessful albums in 1973.
Don embarked on a solo career and collaborated with notable artists such as Emmylou Harris and Albert Lee. In 1983, the Everly Brothers got back together and played a reunion concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Awards and Accolades:
Don Everly has won numerous awards and accolades as a member of the Everly Brothers, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, several NME Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986), Country Music Hall of Fame (2001), Vocal Group Hall of Fame (2004), and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (2009).
Don Everly has been married three times: Venetia Stevenson (1962–1970), Mary Sue Ingraham (1957–1961), and Adela Garza (1997-present). He has four children.