Boomers Lose a Second Everly Brother

Don Everly, the lower-register harmony voice of the duo, the Everly Brothers, died this week. Don was usually the lead singer of the group. He was the older brother to Phil (who died in 2014; see Mister Boomer’s Bye, Bye Love: Another Boomer Icon Has Passed).

As previously noted, Chet Atkins was instrumental in getting the brothers their first record deal, and the duo burst on the scene in 1957 with Bye Bye Love. They had a string of Top Ten hits in the late fifties and early sixties.

Both brothers enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1961, and shortly after boot camp, performed in uniform on The Ed Sullivan Show, singing Crying In the Rain. They were released from the Marine Corps in 1962, after six months of service. The popularity of their brand of country/folk/rock was fading as the British Invasion hit the U.S. in 1964, but the brothers continued to record and perform.

The duo famously broke up in mid-concert in 1973 when brother Phil walked off the stage. It is reported the brothers did not speak to each other for a decade. However, they did reunite for a concert in 1983, recorded a new album a year later, and performed together occasionally for another decade.

In 2018, Phil’s surviving family filed a copyright claim to half the royalties of the song, Cathy’s Clown (written in 1960). Don sued the estate of his brother to reclaim his copyright, stating that Phil signed a release giving up his rights to the song and acknowledged that Don was the sole writer of the song. The two brothers were listed as co-writers on the record and shared in royalties until 1980.

Known for their harmonies, the brothers also penned several songs together, though their biggest hits were written by others. They also are listed as sole songwriters on several tunes that became hits for other bands. For instance, Phil wrote their classic tune, When Will I Be Loved (1960), which became a huge hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1975.

Songs Don wrote:
(Till) I Kissed You – 1959; Chet Atkins played guitar on the record, and Jerry Allison of the Crickets played drums
Cathy’s Clown – 1960; *disputed by Phil, who claimed the two of them wrote it together
So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) – 1960; it was recorded by several artists in the 1960s and ’70s
The Facts of Life -1964
The Drop Out – 1964
I Used to Love You – 1965
Why Wasn’t I Born Rich? – 1967; recorded by Cliff Richard

(Till) I Kissed You and Cathy’s Clown were bona fide hits for the brothers. The others failed to chart or were released by other country, R&B or rock groups.

The brothers were inducted into the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and were given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Mister Boomer has a personal connection to songs by the Everly Brothers, as previously mentioned when Phil passed away. His appreciation of their music has expanded as an adult, and he can see why so many artists and bands of the early days of rock and roll were so influenced by their sound.

Do you have fond memories of listening to the Everly Brothers? Did you take sides in the battle of the brothers, boomers?


Boomers Were Dreamers

Mister Boomer freely admits he was a daydreamer in his school days, and continues to be an all-around dreamer to this day. After all, who among us has not drifted into the siren call of a lottery-winning dream?

This time of year was especially conducive to daydreaming for Mister B. In grade school in the 1950s and ’60s, the chirp of birds and rustle of green leaves in a spring breeze had Mister B transporting himself out the window of his classroom into a universe of warm sun, as the smell of blooming flowers and freshly mowed lawns wafted through his mind. Sweet dreams are made of these.

Boomers were always dreamers. They say it’s because we had more leisure time than any other generation that came before us, but Mister B feels even if boomer children were forced to do manual labor in factories or farms as in earlier decades, the daydreams would be there as a mental escape, to the detriment of the work at hand.

As usual with boomer-generation proclivities, a thread appears in the music of our era. In this case, most dream songs during the boomer years are about dreaming for the perfect mate; the One we are waiting/searching for. There were exceptions, but few. In fact, dream songs were so popular that many were recorded multiple times and became hits all over again.

Here are a few notable dream songs from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s that caught the ear of Mister Boomer:

All I Have to Do Is Dream – The Everly Brothers (1958)
The song was written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, the husband and wife dream team who also wrote Bye, Bye, Love; Wake Up Little Susie; and Bird Dog. Chet Atkins played guitar on the recording, which hit the number one spot for the brothers. Talk about dreams becoming reality, this song seemed destined for greatness from the start. Richard Chamberlain recorded it in 1963 and hit the top 10 (yes, Dr. Kildare had hit songs, too); Glen Campbell and Bobby Gentry released their version in 1970; and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band added their version in 1975. For Mister B’s taste, you can’t beat the dreamy vocals of the Everly Brothers.

Dream Lover — Bobby Darin (1959)
Some boomers may not recall that the multi-talented Bobby Darin wrote this song about the woman of his dreams. A year later, he met her while working on the motion picture, Come September. Bobby and actress Sandra Dee had a whirlwind romance and eloped three months later. Tumultuous from the start, the marriage ended after six years, producing one son. Bobby Darin died in 1973, days after undergoing open heart surgery to repair artificial valves that had been installed in 1971.

The tune reached the number two spot, blocked from the top by Johnny Horton’s Battle of New Orleans. The song went on to be recorded by Johnny Burnette (1961) and Ben E. King (1962). Additional recordings followed by Dion, Johnny Nash and Tony Orlando & Dawn. Ricky Nelson recorded it in 1978, and after singing it on Saturday Night Live in 1979, released it as a single and charted with his version.

Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) — Roy Orbison (1962)
The yearning in Roy’s voice was palpable as he crooned, “How long must I dream.” This dream song was propelled to the number four spot in the Top 10. Glen Campbell released his version in 1971.

Roy contributed another dream song to the boomer collection, too. Roy composed and recorded In Dreams (1963), a song about lost love. His voice covers two octaves in the song, not a feat many others could perform.


Dream a Little Dream of Me — The Mamas & the Papas (1968)
Here’s a fun boomer fact: this song was first recorded by none other than Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra in 1931. In 1950, Frankie Laine released his version. The song was recorded more than 40 times by top singers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Dean Martin. Nonetheless, it is Mama Cass Elliot that boomers hear when they remember this dream song.

Fabian Andre, co-writer of the song, was friends with Michelle Phillips’ parents. She first met him in 1950, when she was six years old, and remembered him singing the song at their home. The Mamas & the Papas were in the recording studio when Michelle got word their family friend had died. She recalled the song and suggested to husband John Phillips that the band record it. They asked Cass to take the lead and the rest is music history. That is Mama Cass doing her own whistling on the tune, too.

Of course, the Mamas & the Papas were California Dreamin’, too (1965).


Dream On — Aerosmith (1973)
The youngest boomer was nine years old and probably listening to the radio and cassette tapes when this song hit the charts. Steven Tyler, songwriter and lead vocalist of the band, said that was roughly his age when the basic melody came to him as he laid under the family grand piano as his father, a classical pianist, played. The song’s super-catchy hook line of, “Dream until your dream come true” is one every boomer could relate to.
At the same time the song sparked dreams for the youngest boomers, older boomers were fighting in Vietnam with their own set of dreams for a life interrupted.

Do you have a favorite dream song, boomers?