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Don Everly
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Don Everly

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As a member of the Everly Brothers, Don Everly was responsible for such late 1950s and early 1960s hits as "Bye Bye Love" and "Cathy's Clown."

Who Was Don Everly?

Don Everly learned to sing and play guitar at an early age. He made his radio debut around the age of 8 with his younger brother Phil. The pair signed a record deal in 1957. The Everly Brothers soon scored a series of hits, including "Bye Bye Love" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream." The pair split up in 1973, and Don launched a solo career. A decade later, the Everly Brothers reunited. They recorded several albums together, including EB 84.

Musical Beginnings

Born Isaac Donald Everly on February 1, 1937, in Brownie, Kentucky, Don Everly is best known for his work with his younger brother, Phil, as the Everly Brothers. He grew up surrounded by music. His father, Ike, worked as a coal miner, but he was also a talented guitarist. When Don was still quite young, he moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois, so that his father could pursue a music career.

By the time he was 8 years old, Don had begun performing as well. He and his brother, Phil, joined their parents on his father's Iowa radio show, and the Everly brothers continued to grow and develop as musical artists. They also had a talent for songwriting, with Don even writing a song that was recorded by Kitty Wells.

The Everly Brothers

In 1957, Don and Phil Everly landed a recording contract. The Everly Brothers soon hit the charts with "Bye Bye Love," which made the top of the country charts and did well on the pop and R&B charts, as well. Over the next few years, the Everly Brothers continued to enjoy great success with such catchy songs as "Bird Dog" and "Wake Up Little Susie." Their unique harmonic style also lent itself beautifully to ballads, including "All I Have to Do Is Dream," one of their most famous tunes.

Behind the scenes, however, Don and Phil did not always get along. Don struggled with substance-abuse problems for years. Tensions between the two finally erupted in 1973, when Phil made an abrupt exit from the stage at a California concert. After the brothers parted ways, Don Everly continued to pursue a solo career, which he'd begun with his 1970 self-titled album. He later released Sunset Towers (1974) and Brother Juke Box (1977).

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Later Years

In 1983, Don and Phil reunited for a concert in London. Not long after, the pair recorded a new album together, EB 84. One of the album's highlights was the song "On the Wings of a Nightingale," which was penned by Paul McCartney. Two years later, the Everly Brothers were recognized for their musical contributions, having influenced the likes of the Beatles and the Beach Boys.

Don and Phil continued to perform together periodically over the years. They even released another album, 1989's Some Hearts. They also received more honors for their role in music history. In 1997, the pair received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. A few years later, they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In January 2014, Don had to say goodbye to brother Phil, who died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Don released a statement expressing his grief over his brother's death: "I always thought I'd be the one to go first," he wrote, according to The Associated Press. "The world might be mourning an Everly Brother, but I'm mourning my brother Phil."

Spouse and Children

Married several times, Don Everly has four children. He has a daughter, Venetia Ember Everly, from his first marriage and son Edan and daughters Stacy and Erin from his second marriage. Edan has followed in his father's footsteps, and the two have even performed together. Erin was once married to Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose.


Everly died on August 21, 2021. He was 84. 

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