Les Paul was an amazing guitarist and technological genius who figured out how to bounce tracks and create a wall of harmonies with Mary Ford’s extremely sensual voice and his over-dubbed guitar parts.

Les Paul, Mary Ford

Phil Spector created his own incredible Wall Of Sound, but much earlier, Les Paul wove a Tapestry Of Sound and one wonders what musical magic these two Orson Welles of Music might have produced together.


Meanwhile, what Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers gave the world were their voices- pure voices with Orbison managing to wring every emotion of sadness even when singing about a Pretty Woman.

It’s Over, Crying and Crawling Back are a mini symphony of Hurt and very much the inspiration for many of Brian Wilson’s classics whereas, let’s not forget, that Please Please Me was originally written and arranged as a ballad in the style of The Big O.

Love Hurts and Roy Orbison made damn sure we heard just how much it CAN hurt.

The death this week of Phil Everly has far more radio stations than I thought devoting so much time to the music of Don and Phil- the Everly Brothers who influenced and inspired any kid who picked up a guitar, learnt three or four chords and formed a group with his mates.


Listening to the harmonies of the Everly Brothers’ singing Bye Bye Love- a song rejected by over 30 other artists before the unknown duo recorded it- was the best musical lesson no school could teach, and studying what each part Don and Phil were singing and finally getting it right brought smiles to the faces of many.

It must have had the same impact with John and Paul as all those early harmonies on the Beatles’ songs- and even their suits- were inspired by the Everlys and are evident on many of their early recordings.

Then, George found his own voice, added a third harmony line and took everything further and where it had never gone before.

But, Love Me Do, PS I Love You and later, Can’t Buy Me Love, Ticket To Love and One After One were all nods to their musical heroes who, once, even inspired one of John and Paul’s earliest names for their duo- The Foreverly Brothers. Who knew?

The Hollies, Simon and Garfunkel, the Byrds, Peter and Gordon, the Eagles, and so many more learnt their craft from the Everly Brothers and those still-amazing recordings like Cathy’s Clown, Wake Up, Little Susie, All I Have To Do Is Dream and When Will I Be Loved.

Much later, McCartney even wrote and produced On The Wings Of A Nightingale especially for the brothers when they got back together after a very long feud whereas one of the more bizarre recordings was a version of Bye Bye Love by George Harrison and Eric Clapton plus their ex-wife Patti Boyd Harrison Clapton harmonizing on Bye Bye Love.


The key is that the music of the Everly Brothers- and those voices- are still as fresh and vital as ever and when two contemporary and extremely different artists as Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong record a tribute album to the duo, it shows that melody and the voices to LIFT these melodies transcend time and age barriers.