Phil Everly, one half of the massively influential early rock duo the Everly Brothers, died this weekend in Burbank, California. He was 74 years old. According to the Los Angeles Times, Everly passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Alongside his brother Don, Phil became one of the biggest stars in the early years of rock ‘n roll. The Everly Brothers formed out of the remnants of an Everly family act. Rooted in country, the Everlys had a long-standing friend in Chet Atkins, who encouraged the brothers to keep going after their first single as a duo flopped. Their debut single for Cadence Records, “Bye Bye Love,” sold a million copies and placed the Everlys on a tier with the likes of Elvis Presley.
The Everlys maintained a solid career throughout the ’60s with hits like “When Will I Be Loved” and “Cathy’s Clown,” but personal issues led to the brothers acrimonious split in 1973. After the breakup, Phil tried his hand at a solo career that included a song on the soundtrack for Clint Eastwood’s Every Which Way But Loose and a solo album that featured guitar work from Dire Straits Mark Knopfler.
Phil’s brother Don released a statement following the reports of Phil’s passing in which he said that, “our love will always be deeper than any earthly differences we had.”