(CelebrityAccess) — Don Everly, one half of the pioneering harmony group The Everly Brothers, has died. He was 84.
His passing was announced on Sunday in a statement posted to the Everly Brothers Instagram account.
“It is with great sadness that we regret to announce the passing of Isaac Donald Everly today. He leaves behind his wife Adela, mother Margaret, children Venetia, Stacy, Erin & Edan, grandchildren Arabella, Easan, Stirling, Eres, Lily & Esper,” the statement said.
No cause of death for Everly was disclosed.
Straddling the worlds of country music and rock, the Everly Brothers’ close harmony and guitar work helped to pave the way for artists such as Simon & Garfunkel, whose early work hewed closely to the trail blazed by the Everlys, and the Beach Boys.
A native of Kentucky, Don Everly began performing with his brother Phil while still teenagers living in Knoxville, including during appearances on Cas Walker’s Farm and Home Hour, a variety program that appeared on regional television and radio outlets. The performances put the Everlys on the radar of family friend Chet Atkins, who was then overseeing RCA Victor studios in Nashville and he helped them cut a record, “Keep a-Lovin’ Me” for Columbia.
The record proved to be a stiff and Columbia dropped the Everlys but they caught on as songwriters at Acuff-Rose.
In 1957, the Everlys recorded “Bye Bye Love,” a song that had been rejected by numerous other artists and turned it into a bonafide hit for Cadence Records when it reached #2 on the Billboard Pop Chart and crossed over to country charts as well.
The success of “Bye Bye Love” marked the beginning of a period of creative success for the Everlys and they quickly followed it up with hits such as “Wake Up Little Susie”, “All I Have to Do Is Dream”, “Bird Dog”, and “Problems.”
In 1960, the Everlys ditched Cadence to sign with Warner Bros and continued their successful chart run with hits such as “Cathy’s Clown,” “Walk Right Back,” “Crying in the Rain,” and “That’s Old Fashioned.”
However, the two brothers were forced to take a career hiatus in 1961 due to military service when they enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in order to avoid being drafted into the United States Army. While the brothers managed to avoid the most strenuous aspects of military service, spending just six months on reserve duty, the break marked the end of their productive period.
After leaving the military, the Everlys resumed recording but failed to find renewed chart success. As well, both Everlys were battling amphetamines addiction, which resulted in an on-stage collapse in 1962 and eventual hospitalization amid a nervous breakdown.
In 1973, things went from bad to worse for the Everlys during a show at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park when Phil smashed his guitar mid-performance and walked off stage, leaving Don to finish the show solo.
The Everlys would not play in public together for another decade. Don found some success as a solo artist and performing with his band Dead Cowboys, as well as performing with English guitarist Albert Lee.
Lee was instrumental in helping to reunite the Everly Brothers and in 1983, at Lee’s urging, the two brothers teamed up for an emotional concert at Royal Albert Hall in London, sparking a minor resurgence of the pop duo.
Following their reunion, the Everlys signed with Mercury Records and their first album in more than a decade, “EB ‘84,” proved to be a middling hit.
They continued to record and perform together sporadically and collaborate on other projects, including music for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Whistle Down the Wind, and providing backing vocals for Paul Simon’s hit “Graceland.”
Phil Everly died in 2014.
Don was married three times and is survived by his wife of 24 years, Adela, his son Edan, as well as daughters Erin, who was briefly married to Axl Rose, Venetia, and Stacy.