Don Everly, the elder of the Everly Brothers who inspired the likes of The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel, has died at the age of 84, at his Nashville home.
- Don was two years older than Phil Everly, who died in 2014
- The duo had 15 top-10 hits in the US between 1957 and 1962
- The brothers had an often stormy off-stage relationship due to contrasting political views
A family spokesperson confirmed his death in a statement, without revealing the cause.
It comes seven years after the death of Phil Everly who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2014, aged 74.
With their catchy melodies and pitch-perfect harmonies, the Everly Brothers had 15 top-10 hits in the US between 1957 and 1962, including All I Have To Do Is Dream, Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie.
In 1986, they were one of the first acts to be elected to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys in 1997.
“Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams … with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother.”
Growing up in Tennessee, Don was originally a solo performer before teaming up with his younger brother in the mid-1950s and catching the attention of music executives in Nashville.
Don’s deeper voice usually carried the melody, with Phil singing harmony in recordings and live performances.
After their global popularity waned in the mid-1960s due to the so-called British invasion, the duo segued from pop to country rock, enjoying moderate success.
In 1972, they had a famous bust-up on stage during a show in California and didn’t play together again for more than a decade.
Having failed to earn the same acclaim as solo artists, they reunited with a concert in London in 1983 and would record a comeback album, produced by British guitarist Dave Edmunds.
After their final hit single Born Yesterday in 1986, the brothers performed and recorded with an eclectic mix of artists over the next two decades, including Simon and Garfunkel, Cliff Richard and Vince Gill.
After Phil Everly had died earlier in the year, Don delivered a moving rendition of Bye Bye Love as a solo performer at the 2014 Annual Music Masters in Cleveland.
Two years later, he endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, noting that he and Phil had held “vastly different views on politics and life”, which accounted for their often difficult sibling relationship.
Paul McCartney has said the Everly Brothers helped mould The Beatles’ famous vocal style in the 1960s, with he and John Lennon jokingly calling themselves The Foreverly Brothers.
In 2019, when Don was voted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones, called him “one of the best rhythm guitar players I’ve ever heard.”
Apart from his wife Adela, he is survived by his mother, Margaret, his son, Edan, and his daughters Venetia, Stacy and Erin.