Don Everly of the iconic rock ‘n’ roll duo the Everly Brothers has died at the age of 84 at his home in Nashville.
The singer’s family told the
His death comes seven years after he lost his brother Phil, with whom he formed the iconic rock ‘n’ roll duo that rocketed them both to stardom.
Dearly departed: Don Everly of the iconic rock ‘n’ roll duo the Everly Brothers has died at the age of 84 at his home in Nashville; he is pictured in 1998
Legends: His death comes just seven years after he lost his brother Phil, with whom he formed the iconic rock ‘n’ roll duo that rocketed them both to stardom; they are pictured in 1965
‘Don lived by what he felt in his heart,’ his family said in a public statement marking his death over the weekend.
‘Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams … with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother.’
Before they were known as the Everly Brothers the two siblings sang in the Everly Family – a 1940s act that included them with their parents Ike and Margaret.
‘Country’s not the right word for what he played,’ Don said of his father during a 1986 interview with
Originally born Isaac Donald Everly in Kentucky, he and Phil whiled away much of their early childhood in Iowa before spending their teen years in Tennessee.
It was there that they began their careers the Nashville country music scene, spinning their wheels for years before scoring a hit with Bye Bye Love in 1957.
The number had been written by the husband-wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant who pitched it unsuccessfully to 30 acts before the Everly Brothers took it.
They spun it into their breakthrough success, scoring a number one on the country charts and even a number two on the pop charts.
A number of hits followed, from songs written by others like Wake Up Little Susie to songs Don wrote like Cathy’s Clown and (Til) I Kissed You.
However as their career rolled into the early 1960s Don found himself addicted to Ritalin after his involvement with Dr. Max Jacobson.
Max Jacobson was the infamous ‘Dr. Feelgood’ who administered ultimately addictive ‘vitamin shots’ to an all-star clientele including John F. Kennedy.
‘People didn’t understand drugs that well then. They didn’t know what they were messing with,’ Don reflected decades later.
‘It wasn’t against the law: I saw a picture of my doctor with the president, you know? But it got out of hand, naturally. It was a real disaster for a lot of people, and it was a disaster for me. Ritalin made you feel energized. You could stay up for days. It just got me strung out. I got so far out there, I didn’t know what I was doing.’
His addiction spiraled into a breakdown and a suicide attempt, whereupon he was institutionalized and subjected to electroconvulsive therapy.
‘They say shock therapy is good for some things, but it didn’t do me any good,’ he remembered. ‘It was a pretty primitive treatment at the time – once they gave it to you, you couldn’t remember how long you’d been there. It knocked me back for a long time. I thought I’d never write again.’
Around that time the Everly Brothers refocused their career on Britain and the Commonwealth, having retained their fame there as they went out of style in the US.
From an artistic standpoint they remained a fascinating act, releasing one of the pioneering albums of country rock when they put out their record Roots in 1968.
Early on in the 1970s the partnership had become infamously to fray, and Don even put out a flop solo record named after himself.
In 1973 they went public with the fact that they were breaking up, though they offered fans a farewell show at Knott’s Berry Farm in California.