Phil Everly, the younger half of groundbreaking country-rock music duo The Everly Brothers, passed away Friday, January 3 in Burbank, California. He was 74.
Everly’s wife Patti confirmed Phil’s passing to the Los Angeles Times, citing the cause of death as complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), brought on by a lifetime of smoking.
The Everly Brothers (nee, Don and Phil Everly) first came to prominence in the 1950s with hit singles “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up, Little Susie.” Their signature tight-harmony vocals (a technique previously associated with country and bluegrass), brought a fresh, vocal-driven approach to the emerging rock-and-roll genre, serving as an influence on many major acts to come, including The Beach Boys, The Beatles and others. They went on to score twelve Top-10 hits during the 1950s and 1960s, and after a falling out, broke up onstage in 1973. The brothers both continued as solo artists, reuniting briefly in the 1980s. The Everly Brothers were in the first class of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, also entering the Country Hall of Fame in 2001.
Patti Everly told the Times that the family was “absolutely heartbroken,” adding that Phil “fought long and hard” against his disease. The family is planning a private funeral for the singer.
RIP, Phil Everly. You will be deeply missed.