There are few pop acts that don't owe a little bit to the harmonies of the Everly Brothers:
“When we first heard it, it blew us away,” Paul McCartney once said of the Everlys’ “All I Have to do is Dream,” one of a string of hits Phil and Don Everly had in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s that transformed pop music.
The sound of “All I Have to do is Dream” echoed through the minds of the still-nascent Beatles, Byrds, Beach Boys and countless other soon-to-be-icons. Chet Atkins’ tremolo-enhanced guitar underlines the duo’s longing, conveyed by harmonies that had been honed since childhood.
Phil Everly, who died Friday at age 74, once explained that their sound evolved in a way only shared by family members. He and Don pronounced and phrased words, even accented syllables the same way because they had been listening to each other talk and sing their entire lives. It brought an ache and an intimacy to nearly everything the brothers recorded.
While brotherly tensions sent Phil on his own for a few years (and arguably his best solo work), my preference is to remember those tight harmonies with big brother Don: