RIP Phil Everly

Phil Everly, with his older brother Don the Everly Brothers, died on Friday in California.  Famous for a string of hits that began with “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie”, both released in 1957, the massive influence of the duo’s vocal harmonizing was recognized with inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1986. Here are the Everly Brothers performing those hits.

Many of their hits were written by others, including the two in the videos above, but Phil wrote 1960’s “When Will I Be Loved” which also became Linda Ronstadt’s second highest charting single in 1974.  Interesting note: Ronstadt was just elected to this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class.

Phil and Don also wrote “Gone Gone Gone”, covered by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on their 2007 collaboration “Raising Sand”.

Phil did live to see Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Norah Jones release “Foreverly” this past November, a song-for-song reinterpretation of the Everly Brothers’ second album “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us”. Here’s the first single released from that album.

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Danny Gatton – The Greatest Guitarist You Never Heard Of

Been waiting to write this post all year.  September 4th was the birthday of the late Danny Gatton – the best guitarist the world never heard of and one of the best guitarists of all time, period.  Nicknamed “The Humbler”, Gatton combined dazzling technique with his own creative fusion of rockabilly, blues, jazz, country and a bit of everything else.

He grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and spent much of his life playing close to home. His aversion to touring may have been a major factor in his lack of commercial success, but he was a musician’s musician. Legend and innovator Les Paul said of Gatton, “He could do anything the other guy could do … and do it better”.

“Funhouse” from his 1993 album “Cruisin’ Deuces” shows Gatton’s massive technique delivering tasty solos that don’t easily fit into any genre.

Gatton’s closest brush with mainstream fame may have been his Grammy nomination for the track “Elmira Street Boogie” which showed off his bluesy, rockabilly side.

For those who got to see Danny play live, a favorite stage trick was his slide work with a beer bottle. His solo starts around 4:20 in this video, and don’t worry about the beer dripping from the fretboard of his Fender Telecaster – at around 5:30 he cleans it up!

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