The Everly Brothers - Golden Hits
This one’s been a bit of a grower for me. Upon first listen The Golden Hits of The Everly Brothers (a duo I had previously been familiar with by name only) sounded like the work of a second rate 60’s pop outfit to my untrained ear - a sort of Beatles-lite if you will. However, with further listens (and ahem, a quick consultation of wiki of course) it becomes apparent that the steel guitars and close harmonies are the hallmarks of an act who are more Muhlenberg County, Kentucky than Merseyside.
This collection of their early hits from the 50’s and 60’s - when the The Everly Brothers were in their pomp - combines country-pop rock ‘n roll numbers such as How Can I Meet Her and the more rockabilly sounding Muskrat – with a sprinkling of more mournful down-tempo numbers such as Crying in the Rain and Ebony Eyes. The latter of which is a completely barmy ballad recounting the story of someone’s girlfriend going down in a ball of flames in a plane crash. The embryonic American aviation industry must have been delighted with that one. The laughably sincere monologue that spans half the song and which contains the immortal line “Could the friends and families of passengers aboard Flight 1203 please report to the chapel” is a particular highlight. Perhaps aviation disasters are what go for inspiration when you’re addicted to speed and Ritalin. Who knows? Incidentally Ebony Eyes has nothing to do with this highly peculiar Rick James and Smokey Robinson music video of the same name. I think.
The Everly Brothers’ popularity had waned by the mid-sixties as bands like the Beatles and the Beach Boys took over (and who’s debt to the Everlys is very much apparent after a couple listens) and by 1970 they were filling in for Johnny Cash on his TV show, leading to this typically meandering anecdote from Cash about American Indians not being descended from apes like the rest of us. Not sure what Darwin would have to say about that one….
Assorted Everly Brothers rock facts: 1) They both sang on Paul Simon’s Graceland, 2) Don Everly’s daughter, Erin Everly, was briefly married Axl Rose, and 3) They trail only Hall and Oates for the most number of top 40 singles by a duo… which can only lead me to believe that there really can’t be too many really successful pop duos out there as I’m struggling to think of more than three Hall and Oates songs as I sit here. Maneater is a tune though.
The track of the week for the parent core playlist goes to Cathy’s Clown – a song taken from their fourth album and which has a particularly soulful and catchy post-chorus. PJ on the other hand has chosen to tackle the plane crash which is Ebony Eyes. Enjoy!
Listen to PJ’s beats here: