When Phil Everly died on Jan. 3, 2014, it brought an end to the career of one of the most essential partnerships in the history of modern music. The Everly Brothers played a key role in the development of early rock 'n' roll, but their roots were in country music, and their influence in both genres was so vast that they have been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Their influence on rock and pop acts including the Beatles, the Beach Boys and especially Simon & Garfunkel has been well-documented, but the Everly Brothers' legacy has also made a significant impact on country music, both with their own hits and popular cover versions of their songs. The Boot's list of the Top 5 Everly Brothers Country Songs explores their impact on generations of country musicians.
"That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine"
The Everly Brothers' sound relied heavily upon close-voiced harmonies that derived directly from many of the traditional country songs taught to them as young boys by their father, Ike, himself an accomplished guitarist. Their rendition of Gene Autry's 1931 hit appears on an album appropriately titled Songs Our Daddy Taught Us in 1958. The track's continuing influence includes renditions by Simon & Garfunkel; most recently, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones re-recorded the entire Songs Our Daddy Taught Us album in new versions and titled the resulting album Foreverly.
"Silver Threads and Golden Needles"
The Everlys dug deep into their country roots for the 1963 album The Everly Brothers Sing Great Country Hits, which features their interpretations of classics by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Don Gibson and more. "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" had already been recorded by Skeeter Davis, but it is their cut that arguably most influenced the hit cover by Linda Ronstadt, which became one of her touchstones.
"All I Have to Do Is Dream"
This 1958 hit single is one of the keystone tracks of the brothers' career. Recorded live in the studio in just two takes, the track features Chet Atkins on guitar, and hit No. 1 across the country, pop and even R&B charts. It received the Grammy Hall of Fame award in 2004, and has been covered by a wide array of country artists, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell, Juice Newton, Linda Ronstadt (with Kermit the Frog) and Dwight Yoakam.
Released in 1960, "Cathy's Clown" was the Everly Brothers' biggest hit, selling 8 million copies worldwide and spending five weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. Though their version was not a country hit, its influence on the genre is undeniable -- in 1989 country queen Reba McEntire covered the song on her Sweet Sixteen album, taking it all the way to No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
Not only one of the Everlys' best-known songs, but one of the most recognizable songs in popular music history, "Bye Bye Love" became a No. 1 country hit for the brothers in 1957. Performers including George Harrison, Simon & Garfunkel and Lacy J. Dalton have also recorded the classic track, and it has inspired a movie, as well as countless pop culture references.