Phil and Don Everly brought the country tradition of blood-related harmony to the rock and roll generation. Their songs and musical style informed and influenced countless musicians across many genres for seven decades and likely many more to come. There's a reason that Don and Phil Everly were among the first group of Inductees in 1986: their music helped define rock and roll. With the passing of Phil Everly on January 3, 2014, rock and roll lost one of its greatest voices, though a legacy of recordings and acolytes around the globe promise that Phil's music will never be silenced.
"When I was about 15 or maybe 12, I started playing in a band in school, and we got together in my garage – four guys with some beat up pieces of equipment that really didn't work too good," Neil Young said when inducting the Everly Brothers at the 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. "We started playing, and we did instrumentals for about a year or so, and then I got up enough nerve to start singing. Some people say maybe I shouldn't have started that. Anyway, one of the other guys in the band started singing with me, and we were trying to get that sound that we've heard and loved so much, the harmony that the Everly Brothers put out from the very beginning on Cadence Records. We never did get it, but we worked real hard at it.
"Years later I found myself in Los Angeles, and we were putting together a band," recalled Young. "[Stephen] Stills and [Richie] Furay were working on the vocals and it was just like the same thing all over again, trying to get that sound, still couldn't get it."
Following Young's induction speech, both Everly Brothers, Phil and Don, took the podium, accepting their awards together and poking fun at their sometimes-acrimonious relationship: "Thank God they gave us two," joked Phil Everly. "We don't have to fight over it."
Phil Everly went on to express gratitude for being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "We really appreciate being with such fine company," he said. "It's really grand that rock and roll has reached this point. I think it speaks well of all of us. We made good choices when we were real young. Thank you all for honoring us."
Brother Don Everly shared similarly poignant remarks on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the music it honors: "It's kind of a 'hats off' to rock and roll, which has changed all of our lives – the way we dress, the way we look, the way we think, the way we interact amongst each other. I think it's been a good thing. Rock and roll has been good to us; hope it’s been good to you."
The Everly Brothers are featured in the Museum's Cities and Sounds exhibit, in the "Rave On" section. There, visitors to the Museum will find the outfits worn by the brothers on the cover of The Fabulous Style of the Everly Brothers, as well as a 1963 Gibson Everly Brothers model featuring a split pick guard surrounding the sound hole that was meant to represent the brothers’ familial resemblance.