The Everly Brothers brought a new approach for singing harmony to a developing genre, soon christened "Rock And Roll." Their sound went on to inspire and influence The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and by extension anybody who followed those footsteps using vocal harmony. Don and Phil Everly, just two years apart in age, had a sound only genetic blending could really produce. Their career started with a song the publishers couldn't get anybody to take, but opened the door to these pioneers of modern vocal harmony. This pack of songs looks at some of their earliest hits.
Lesson 1: Bye Bye Love - Everly Brothers - Guitar Lesson
In 1957 Don (20 years old) and Phil (18 years old) had their first hit with Bye Bye Love, a song written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant that had been turned down by 30 acts at that point. The Everly Brothers had brought a new approach to singing harmony to the developing genre christened “Rock And Roll.”
Their sound went on to inspire and influence The Beatles, and by extension anybody who followed those footsteps using vocal harmony.
The chord progressions and accompaniments now seem pretty standard and relatively easy but here is where it all began. This lesson covers that and also looks at creating a second guitar part. For lessons on the Everly Brothers vocal techniques be sure to visit our sister site Totally Vocals.
Lesson 2: Wake Up Little Susie - Everly Brothers - Guitar Lesson
Wake Up Little Susie is another hit from the start of The Everly Brothers’ career, Bye Bye Love being the other obvious one. Most of their songs featured the close harmony vocals with Don singing the lower parts and Phil singing higher, usually a third higher.
They really introduced this style of harmony to the world of emerging world of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the late 1950s. Wake Up Little Susie is a bit more complicated than many songs from the time, having different parts leaning towards different keys, and lines from one section also appearing in another, sometimes over different progressions.
The Intro includes syncopated chord changes, quickly moving from F to G and back, which occur later with different rhythms. You don’t even really need barre chords to play this song.
Lesson 3: All I Have To Do Is Dream - Everly Brothers - Guitar Lesson
All I Have To Do Is Dream was an early hit for Phil and Don Everly. Another tune from the songwriting team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, the original recording featured Chet Atkins on electric guitar.
The song uses a common 1950s progression and a standard AABA form. The lesson covers the progression and arrangement, as well as how to transpose it to different keys and how to play a second guitar part, much like Chet’s.
Lesson 4: Let It Be Me - Everly Brothers - Guitar Lesson
Originally written in French a few years before coming into the hands of The Everly Brothers, Let It Be Me went on to become one of the most recorded and performed songs of all time.
Don and Phil Everly originally did the song in the key of G and later performed it in F. This lesson covers both keys as well as going into random arpeggios as an accompaniment technique.
Lesson 5: Cathy’s Clown - Everly Brothers - Guitar Lesson
One of the few self-penned hits by The Everly Brothers, Cathy’s Clown is a good example of a catchy song that uses just a few easy chords, simple progressions, and basic strumming techniques that is pretty playable by beginning guitar students.
The lesson dresses it up a bit with barre chord possibilities and left hand muting techniques, but Cathy’s Clown can really be done with four open chords that mostly change back and forth two at a time.
Visit Totally Vocals and Learn to Sing Cathy's Clown