Monday, January 7, 2013

The Everly Brothers--Wake Up Little Suzie (1957)

     When talking about the first wave of innovators in Rock and Roll, the first few come easy: Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and Fats Domino. Two others who I believe should be categorized in that group would be Don and Phil Everly.
     Close harmony singing in thirds was common in country music in the 50's. Artists like The Louvin Brothers, The Osborne Brothers, and Jim & Jessie, used it to great effect, but it wasn't until The Everly's that it had been used in the new style that was known as Rock and Roll. Listening to much of their music it's obvious the music fell a bit more on the country side (mainly because of those harmonies), but The Beatles, Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel were deeply influenced by their music.
     Their popularity spanned from their first number one in 1957, "Bye, Bye, Love", to "That's Old Fashioned" in 1962. As opposed to what some might think, the duo's days of hits stopped long before the British Invasion. I believe part of this was due to a contractual dispute with their manager who also administered the Rose-Acuff music publishing company. Not only were they cut off from Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, the team who wrote several of their biggest hits, but they couldn't even used their own material They were contracted to Acuff-Rose themselves, so any songs they wrote would have to go through that publisher. This forced them to use cover material, and other writers who they had not had a musical relationship with. That, and a stint for the both of them in the Marine's, effectively brought their career as a charting duo to an end.
     After a 10 years hiatus from working together, the brothers got back together and continue to tour as both are in their 70's. "Wake Up Little Suzie", is one of the major hits written by the Bryant's.


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