Don Everly, half of the Everly Brothers group who had a hit with “Bye Bye Love,” has died at the age of 84.

Don Everly, who developed the prototype for close harmony vocalizing in the chart-topping duo the Everly Brothers with his late younger brother Phil, died Saturday at the age of 84 in Nashville. There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

Even as condolences began to pour in on social media Saturday night as rumors of his death spread, the Los Angeles Times confirmed his death through a family spokeswoman.

The Byrds, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and the Eagles all owe a debt to the brothers, who influenced a subsequent generation of country-rock musicians.

Everly, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, grew up in his family’s country act, singing the high, fluid harmonies that would make him famous. He and his brother cut a succession of pioneering hit ballads and rockers for the Cadence and Warner Bros. labels beginning in 1957.

The Everly Brothers had a lasting effect on the rock musicians who came after them. Only The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, whose early partnership as Tom & Jerry virtually duplicated the brothers’ sound, were the most well-known bands to copy their achingly beautiful harmony sound.

“Except for the urban doo-woppers, you’d be hard-pressed to find a voice-blending rock group from 1957 whose conceptual blueprint wasn’t first sketched by Don and Phil,” writer and historian Ken Barnes said in his notes for the Rhino Records boxed set “Heartaches & Harmonies” in 1994.

On February 1, 1937, Isaac Donald Everly was born in Brownie, Kentucky. His father, Ike, a skilled guitarist and former coal miner, had formed a duo with his wife Margaret to pursue country music as avocation. Phil, Don’s younger brother, was born in 1939 in Chicago.

Their parents ran a country music show on local radio stations KMA and KFNF when the boys were growing up in Shenandoah, Iowa. The brothers began playing on the broadcasts at a young age, emulating country sibling duos such as the Blue Sky Boys (Earl and Bill Bolick), the Monroe Brothers, the Delmore Brothers, and the Louvin Brothers of the 1950s.

In the early 1950s, the family relocated to Tennessee. Don and Phil tried to make a name for themselves in Nashville when they graduated from high school. Chet Atkins, a family friend and guitarist, was their guru in Music City. They had a contract with Columbia Records, but the label terminated them after one failed song in 1955.

The Everlys bounced around Nashville for a year, getting turned down by practically every record label in town. Wesley Rose, the chairman of the powerful Acuff-Rose publishing conglomerate, met the brothers and pushed Archie Bleyer of the New York-based independent Cadence Records to take a chance on them. Their country-based sound was cast in a pop matrix when they entered the studio for the label.


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