Phil Everly, Don Everly
Phil Everly, one half of the popular music duo the Everly Brothers, died Friday of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 74.
"We are absolutely heartbroken," his wife, Patti, told the newspaper, noting that the disease was the result of a lifetime of cigarette smoking. "He fought long and hard."
Phil, who was born two years after his brother and musical partner Don in Chicago, followed their father's footsteps into music and signed their first record deal in 1956. The Everly Brothers peaked in the late 1950s and early 1960s when they had almost three dozen hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, including classics such as "When Will I Be Loved," "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Suzie," "Cathy's Clown" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream." Their harmonies influenced numerous other rock, country and folk singers including the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel.
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By 1962, the Everly Brothers had earned $35 million from record sales, but that year also marked their last U.S. top 10 hit, "That's Old Fashioned." Around that time, the brothers soon enlisted and trained with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which took them out of the spotlight for several months.
In the late 1960s, the duo started to focus more on their country roots, but they split in 1973 and did not speak to each other for almost a decade. In 1983, Phil Everly found success across the pond in the U.K. with his self-titled solo album, including hits "She Means Nothing to Me" and "Louise." The brothers reunited in 1983 and enjoyed their last hit, "Born Yesterday," in 1986. They also sang vocals on Paul Simon's Grammy-winning song "Graceland." The brothers stayed active, and Phil most recently sang a duet," Sweet Little Corrina" with Vince Gill in 2006.
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The Everly Brothers were among the first 10 acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it launched in 1986. They received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and were then inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
In addition to his wife, Everly is survived by his brother, Don, their mother, Margaret, sons Jason and Chris, and two granddaughters.