The death of Phil Everly on Friday at age 74 has spurred an outpouring of appreciation and remembrances from fellow musicians, none more heartfelt than the words of his brother and musical partner, Don Everly.
“I was listening to one of my favorite songs that Phil wrote and had an extreme emotional moment just before I got the news of his passing,” Don Everly wrote in a statement to Associated Press. “I took that as a special spiritual message from Phil saying goodbye. Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had.”
The brothers famously had their differences later in life, but Don Everly, 76, left no doubt about the depth of his feeling for his younger brother.
“I loved my brother very much,” he told the AP. “I always thought I’d be the one to go first. … The world might be mourning an Everly Brother, but I’m mourning my brother Phil Everly.”
Other musicians and notable buzzers offered tributes to Phil Everly’s legacy as a vocalist and songwriter.
Norah Jones and Bille Joe Armstrong of Green Day in November released a duets album, “Foreverly,” featuring the country-folk songs the brothers recorded for their 1958 roots album “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.” The Jones-Armstrong collaboration is a sign of how vital the brothers’ signature brand of pop-rock-country-flavored music remains even a half-century after their heyday.
“I am saddened by the news of the passing of Phil Everly,” Armstrong wrote, according to Rolling Stone. “The Everly brothers go way back as far as I can remember hearing music. Those harmonies will live on forever.”
Norah Jones said in a statement to Rolling Stone: “The Everlys had a huge influence on all kinds of musicians. The high harmonies Phil sang were fluid and so beautiful and always sound effortless in a way that just washes over the listener. He was one of our greats and it’s very sad to lose him.”
In a testament to the brothers’ broad influence, artists from across the musical spectrum expressed their appreciation for the duo. Punk pioneer Iggy Pop issued a lengthy statement to MusicVice.com:
“God bless Phil Everly. The Everlys were the real deal when it comes to American music. I saw them in the 60s at the 20 Grand in Detroit, and they seriously rocked the huge house, with just two Gibson Jumbos, and their voices. And man, did these guys have cool haircuts. I bought ‘Songs Our Daddy Taught Us’ on download recently and there’s a whole life lesson in there. It’s brothers like the Everlys, that make the music scene of today worth bothering with. I am in their debt like so many others, for they have enriched my life.”
Pictured: Phil and Don Everly on stage in 1983