EB quotes, from Don and Phil, and others

“I’d love to snip those years out of my life. Re-edit my life, rearrange it if I could, reassemble my life like a film. I’d like to put those ten years on another planet.”
— Don Everly on his 10-year separation from brother, Phil



“Phil, 44, said if Don hadn’t called, he would have. ‘I’d have figured out some excuse to get together. Maybe I’d have broken my car down in front of your house. It was something I wanted resolved, even if there was no music,’ Phil said.”
— Don, Phil Everly to Protect Their New Relationship (March 9, 1984)



“I called you once on your birthday and you were out and I didn’t call again for two years.”
— Don to Phil (March 9, 1984)



“Don and (first wife) Sue fight a lot—play fight I mean. He loves to tease her. Most of the time she just laughs. But every now and then she’ll get mad. Then she’ll swing at him and he’ll grab her and then they’ll start to wrestle on the couch, and well… that’s no time for a kid brother to be hangin’ around in front of the TV set.”
— Phil Everly, as told to Barbara Henderson in Motion Picture Magazine, 1959



“In his spare time, Phil collects antiques, the older the better. He sleeps in a 500-year-old four-poster bed he acquired in England.
Don paints and collects art. He says he is an impressionist at heart but is never satisfied with his work.”
— The Everly Bros still on top, July 28, 1968



“Whenever the (military?) base would feature a science fiction movie, brother Phil would always know just where he could locate Don. ‘Cause Don’d be sitting in the theater, his eyes glued to the screen.”
— What You Never Knew About the Everlys! (1962)



“There’s never been logic to music being forgotten, for if a song is good, it should be good all the time. You never throw away a book that’s good. And music should be treated as well.” — Phil Everly



“We like each other," Phil says, looking at Don. "That’s true.”
— Everly Brothers in Harmony Again (Feb 2, 1984)



"Don and I are infamous for our split, but we’re closer than most brothers. Harmony singing requires that you enlarge yourself, not use any kind of suppression. Harmony is the ultimate love."
-- Phil Everly



"We never followed trends. We did what we liked and followed our instincts. Rock’n’roll did survive, and we were right about that. Country did survive, and we were right about that. You can mix the two but people said we couldn’t."
-- Don Everly
Last update on January 15, 10:19 pm by Mary.
“We were playing at the Bitter End in New York and Bob Dylan came down. During the course of a meeting after the show, we were all standing around and talking in a very small office. Because of the respect I have for his writing ability, which is monumental, I said to Bob, ‘Do you have any songs?’ and he said, ‘Well, yeah.’ So we passed the guitar around - there really wasn’t a lot of room. He sang ‘Lay, Lady Lay’ and you couldn’t quite make out what he was singing - he talks very much like he sings, only a little less so. And I misinterpreted the lyrics as ‘Lay, lady lay across my big breasts babe’ [instead of ‘across my big brass bed’!!]. Now, I’m not going to ask him to enunciate, and nobody else said anything when he had finished, so there was a kind of pregnant silence. Finally I said, ‘Well, I don’t think we can get away with that!’ He didn’t ask why not. At least I had the audacity to say that we couldn’t get away with the lyrics. Donald didn’t say anything. I don’t know how he interpreted the lyric, but I definitely had it wrong, because when the song came out, I said, ‘Ahh!’ ”
— Phil Everly



"My father was a regular guy – the guy hanging down at the Home Depot or Walmart. In his older days, he was down at the local high school football game, hanging out with the local judge. He’s just a big goof and one of the funniest individuals you’d ever meet. The real rock stars don’t act like real rock stars."
-- Jason Everly
Happy Birthday Phil Everly (January 19, 1939)



“Everybody gets their own agent, their own lawyer, accountant and managers, and bad things happen. When you add in the professional side, you have room for gossip like crazy, from bandmembers or hangers-on. But at the end of the day, you’ve walked the same path, and so you know there’s no one you love more. That’s how they work. You can run into a lot of problems with that, but at the end of the day there’s zero question they loved each other. Zero. You couldn’t get in between them. If you were going to say something bad about my uncle Don in front of my father, you were in for it.”
— Jason Everly on Don and Phil’s relationship
Last update on October 13, 2:09 pm by Mary.
“I took one look at that face and knew immediately that it was Phil Everly. Oh my! He had to be the prettiest young man I’d ever seen. As he stood to greet us, I noticed that his dress pants and jacket were so exquisitely tailored that he looked like he’d just stepped out of a bandbox. He had a very slender build, and when he shook my hand, I noticed that his hands were also long and slender. He had dreamy eyes and long eyelashes, and when he talked, his eyes opened wide as if he was using them to take in everything. He had a million dollar smile, and his teeth were white as snow.
I think the thing I loved the most about Phil Everly was his hair. It was dark blonde, windblown in the front, but extremely coiffed. His haircut was so smooth I couldn’t see a cutline anywhere on his head. I also noticed his abundance of charm, which directly resulted from his Kentucky drawl—he almost sounded like he was singing when he talked.
Phil looked and sounded like an extremely classy man. I knew why Buddy (Holly) liked him—he never acted like a celebrity. He had a wonderful sense of humor.”
— Peggy Sue Gerron - Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?: A Memoir by Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue



“If blond, blue-eyed Phil Everly was the boy every girl wanted to take home and make happy, dark-haired, gray-eyed Don was the sort you’d ‘be afraid to take home—he was, well, all male.’ Don was described by Kurt Loder as ‘rootless, restless, mercurial,’ a gourmand with a weakness for Beaujolais and gorgeous girls.”
— Buddy Holly: A Biography
Last update on January 11, 9:16 pm by Mary.
Thanks Mary!
You're welcome, Pat.
When I suggested to you Mary that we couldn't lose just one of these quotes, you took it up and created what could be a very good source of information. Brilliant Mary.
Thanks, Chris. Good suggestion on your part.
Musician Magazine: "What sort of gigs did you play with the Everly Brothers?"
Warren Zevon: "Well, that was what was real strange. They played a sold-out gig in Albert Hall, and it'd be just like A Hard Day's Night. They'd send us out one exit to be trampled, so they could get out to their limo through another exit. And then a week later we'd be in an oyster bar in North Carolina playing to three people. And the best thing that I learned from them, and always admired them for, was that they always sang the same, which was as well as they could, which was incredibly good. We had chills all the time. I'm sure Waddy (Wachtel) would tell you the same thing. We were real proud to play those songs every night. Because they're great oldies, and they sang them as well as they could. That was real impressive. They didn't get along with each other, and that was real understandable. And I stopped feeling bad about not having made it before I was twenty, from seeing that you didn't really have anywhere to go. The saddest part is that individually they still sing better than anyone else, except maybe dead Elvis - they really do, each individually - but I don't know, their name is Everly Brothers. People are used to the cake with the frosting, and they're reluctant to give an ear to half the recipe. The other great but sad part is that they're the kind of guys who would do the set and then go back to their rooms and play their guitars all night. ..."




Session pro Waddy Wachtel, who’d been asked to join the Everlys’ touring band by then-bandleader Warren Zevon, remembers a slightly more upbeat ending to the Everlys’ first era. "When I took the job, the guitar incident had already happened and people were telling me, "Look, don’t try to get them together, because they hate each other. Just don’t try to mix them up." Within a week, we had the both of them up in our hotel room every night after the show, singing and playing. I’m sitting there, and it’s the Everly Brothers in my room, and it’s the most incredible sound you’ve ever heard in your life. That’s when Donald showed me the open-G intro to "Bye Bye Love." I’ll never forget that. It was like somebody slapped me in the face with a wet towel. On stage we’d been doing the songs all slick and wrong, and I hated it. So I asked him if he’d let me teach the band the right way to play the songs, and he agreed. And that’s how the tour ended."
- Rock Foundations: The Everly Brothers by Dave Simons (Acoustic Guitar magazine, August 2000)
Last update on April 4, 1:25 pm by Mary.
Mary in this last quote when Zevon said that within a week they were playing in their bedrooms and singing. Is that the week after the "Bitter End". Or the first week back after they were touring again after Reunion. Just a bit confused when this took place. I have read at another time that they did this in their rooms, but can't remember when it took place.
Chris, Warren Zevon and Waddy Wachtel were in The EBs' band in the early '70s before the Breakup. Warren for sure was there in the band at Knotts Berry Farm, at the last concert. Warren worked with Don and Phil separately during their solo work. They're referring to the '70s here.
I find Waddy's comments confusing too. Is he remembering the timing wrong, or did they really play together (even casually) right after the incident at Knott's Berry Farm? Everything else we've read goes along with them not speaking for 10 years, except at Ike's funeral.
Megancat, I think he must be remembering the sequence of events wrong.
“I’m still not over it. We had a difficult life together. But I miss him and I think of him every day. It’s almost as if we could read each other’s minds when we sang. We did that all our lives. I’m still very sad.”
— Don Everly on Phil’s death




“Only now, in modern times, is it acceptable for you to keep doing the same thing, over and over and over. But in the beginning of rock and roll, there was always innovation. Artists were always trying to do something new and something different.”
— A quote from the late, great Phil Everly’s last interview (with Paste)



"So sad. Somehow, although it might seem corny to use this song title, I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s the oddest thing. I was only just strumming the Everly Brothers hit of that name and in my head I could hear every note on the track and sing every nuance of the two parts Don and Phil sang. The music of the Everlys, which thrilled me to the core when I was a boy, will be in my head till I die. Now I hear Phil is gone. I feel like a huge piece of my youth just melted away. I loved those guys and still do. From them I learned to play rhythm guitar and how two-part harmonies work. How different emotions are evoked using different sequences of intervals, how to find the moments that chill your spine. I could probably write a book on the music of the fabulous Everly Brothers. But you’ll find echoes of their influence in a lot of our old Queen songs and perhaps that is the best tribute. I never met them. Wish I had. But they will always be my heroes. So sad. RIP Phil Everly – you were magic. I have tears in my eyes."
–Brian May, Queen




“I hope he’s with the angels now, and he can breathe”
— Patti Everly (Phil Everly’s widow)



“I hate to brag about it, but Donald’s chord inversions, fills, and rhythmic things on songs such as ‘Wake Up Little Susie,’ ‘Bird Dog,’ and ‘Bye Bye Love’ are very important, and his style is still emulated today. You have to think about the history of it. That kind of playing didn’t exist in rock music back then. We had our dad showing us things, and we had Bo Diddley’s rhythmic thing, and Don kind of melded together those rhythms with his own ‘incongruous’ chords. That’s when a song like ‘Bye Bye Love’ jumped to life. My playing, compared to Donald’s is like a joke. I can’t say I did anything special.”
— Phil Everly



"They had that sibling sound. The information of your DNA is carried in your voice, and you can get a sound [with family] that you never get with someone who’s not blood related to you. And they were both such good singers — they were one of the foundations, one of the cornerstones of the new rock ‘n’ roll sound.”
-- Linda Ronstadt
Last update on January 16, 10:10 pm by Mary.
Mary I have been reading these quotes again - 3rd time, I like that you are putting dates on many quotes, it does help to get an idea of when and where. When Phil says how good Don was with guitar playing and he was, but he really shouldn't discount himself with the remark he did, his playing wasn't a joke - "I can't say I did anything special". A couple of months ago we were all commenting on one particular video (forgotten which one) and Phil was thumb picking like his Dad and he was very good. Bonnie was instrumental in some good comments and had me looking at this, then that, it was funny. Of course Phil played the guitar well, sometimes he should take the credit for it. Thanks again Mary for the many quotes you have found and posted.
You're welcome, Chris. I enjoy them too. I included any dates with the quotes as I found them. Some came with dates, some not. We know it seems Phil was humble and self-effacing, and that he thought a lot of his brother's musical gifts. But Phil, in his later years, should have taken much more credit than he did. When people speak the name The Everly Brothers, the first thing that probably come to everyone's minds is two-part harmony. And that was Phil. He was magnificent.
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