If you’re an Everly Brothers fan and you know the big ’50s tunes (’57’s “Bye Bye Love” to ’60’s “Cathy’s Clown”), you immediately think of the velvety harmonies. And you always say to yourself “one of them, a tenor, sang the melody, and the other sang the high parts.”
The tenor, for those who don’t know or never cared, was Don Everly, the dark-haired older brother who died yesterday (Saturday, 8.21) at age 84. The soprano with the lighter-colored hair and the pouty baby face was Phil Everly, who passed in 2014.
Don was a lifelong liberal who supported Hilary Clinton in ’16; Phil was an arch-conservative who almost certainly voted against Obama and probably would’ve voted for Trump. Yeesh.
But in 90% of today’s obits, it’s never plainly stated that Don was the dark-haired melody guy. Even though hundreds of thousands are muttering to themselves “was Don the deeper voiced guy or the higher-voiced one?” That’s because many obit writers are careless and asleep at the wheel. You also have to dig and dig to see which Everly was a sensible liberal and which one wasn’t. I guarantee that Don Everly was not a rabid wokester.
All the Everly Brothers songs except one were about girlfriends — longing, heartache or some other form of mild consternation. The one slight standout was “Cathy’s Clown,” which about humiliation and bitterness.