Today’s album is the first real example of robust vocal harmonies on my journey. It is also the first “group” of artists featured, versus an individual lead performer. There were many “doo-wop” sounds of the 1950s that filled this space in a fantastic way, but The Everly Brothers were one of the first acts to really emphasize a two-part harmony routinely in their music, combined with the blend of guitars. This album, “The Everly Brothers’ Best” is a collection of successful singles on the pop and country charts, showing how they successfully intersected those two worlds.
With brother Don usually singing the lead baritone while Phil took the higher tenor harmony vocal, both while playing guitar, they created a simple but signature sound that absolutely resurfaced in acts such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel and any other combination that relied heavily on blended harmony vocals. This pattern is almost identical in style to the early pairing of Lennon and McCartney, and Art Garfunkel’s high harmony draws effectively from this combination as well. It is an infectious and highly appealing sound, reinforced by catchy hooks and clever lyrics. “Bye Bye Love”, “Wake Up Little Susie” and “All I Have to Do is Dream”, which is not only my favorite song on this album, but like all of these hits, a song I fully associate with the waning years of the Eisenhower 1950s, as the relative calm of that decade was slowly winding down. Their most successful song on the charts was “Cathy’s Clown”, which came slightly later and is not on this album, but also a worthy listen when considering the alluring voices of Don and Phil Everly.
The 1950s brought great transformation to the world of popular music, and The Everly Brothers will always be considered as leaders within that movement. There is such a time-stamp on this album, and beyond its historical relevance, it is just a really enjoyable and easy listen.