L to R: Phil and Don Everly in 1983; D. Morrison/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Don Everly, half of the influential and pioneering early rock ‘n’ roll duo The Everly Brothers, died Saturday at his home in Nashville, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 84.
A spokesman for the Everly family confirmed Don’s passing to the newspaper, but did not disclose a cause of death.
A statement from the Everlys reads in part, “Don lived by what he felt in his heart. 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.”
Together with his brother Phil, two years his junior, Don scored a string of major hits in the late ’50s and early ’60s, including such classics as “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Cathy’s Clown” and “Bird Dog.” The brothers’ tight harmonies and melodic tunes influenced many other famous artists, including The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys and The Hollies.
While many of The Everly Brothers’ biggest singles were written by the husband-and-wife team of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, Don also wrote a number of the duo’s hits, including “Cathy’s Clown,” “(Till) I Kissed You” and “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad).”
The Everlys had their last top-40 single in 1967 with “Bowling Green.” Then in 1973, Don had an acrimonious split with Phil and the brothers reportedly didn’t speak to each other for a decade. They reunited in 1983 and had a minor hit the following year with the Paul McCartney-penned tune “On the Wings of a Nightingale.”
The Everly Brothers were part of the inaugural class of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 1986, and were the first non-solo act welcomed into the Hall. In addition, Don and Phil were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 2003, the brothers toured as the special guests of Simon & Garfunkel. They played their last show together in 2005 in Ipswich, U.K. Phil died at age 74 in January 2014 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In addition to Adela, Don is survived by his mother, Margaret; his son, Edan; daughters Venetia, Stacy and Erin; and many grandchildren. His daughter Erin was married to Axl Rose from 1990 to 1991.
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