Don Everly, One Half of Iconic Country Rock Duo The Everly Brothers, Dies at 84

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: D. Morrison/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Don Everly has died. Everly was one half of the iconic country-rock duo The Everly Brothers, which he formed with his younger brother, Phil. Don was 84-years-old.

Currently, Everly’s representatives haven’t revealed a cause of death. But the popular musician passed away in Nashville on Saturday (August 21). Variety confirmed that Everly has passed. A family spokesperson revealed the country music legend’s death.

How does one quantify Don’s, along with his brother’s, contributions to music. Well for one, the Everly brothers joined the rock gods in 1986 in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But that wasn’t enough for them. Decades later, they also found themselves in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. The Everly Brothers flirted with both genres, creating music that refused to be caged by convention.

The Everly Brothers featured high harmonics that felt purposeful and swept the imagination. In fact, only The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel came close to their range in the years that followed. The Beatles may have found greater success, but they followed a road that The Everly Brothers’ previously had a hand in laying.

Don Everly first formed the band with his brother Phil in 1957. They played for several labels during their career including Cadence and Warner Brothers. Their music also acted as a catalyst for other country-rock musicians. Just take a look at the Eagles or the Byrds if you want to know how vast their influence spread.

Don Everly And His Career

Don Everly was born Isaac Donald Everly on Feb. 1, 1937. He was born in Brownie, Kentucky. Later, his younger brother Phil was born two years later in Chicago. Their father worked first as a coal miner but later pursued country music with his wife. Both boys found inspiration in their parents to perform.

For one, the Everly Brothers got their start performing on their parents’ country music radio show in Iowa. They found success, forming the duo The Everly Brothers after other hardworking country siblings of the era. But that hobby turned into a chance for a career after they both graduated high school. Moving to Nashville, the Everly Brothers initially got and lost a label and was rejected by almost everyone in town.

But Cadence Records decided to give the two a chance and the rest was history. “That’s one part where being brothers makes a difference. It’s just instinct,” Everly said. “That’s the charm of what the Everly Brothers are: two guys singing as one,” Don once said of performing alongside his brother.

Don’s brother Phil passed away in 2014 from lung disease. Don was married for 24 years. He’s survived by his third wife Adela and his four children. His music continues to live on and touch listeners’ lives.