Columbia Records, 1955-56, "Keep A Lovin' Me" and "The Sun Keeps Shining"

On Nov. 9, 1955, The Everly Brothers (Phil aged 16, Don 18) walked into Castle Studio in the basement of the Old Tulane Hotel in Nashville and recorded four songs on a 12” EP. Only two were released: "Keep A Lovin' Me" and "The Sun Keeps Shining," on Feb. 6, 1956. All four tracks remained unissued until 1981, when Bear Family label released it on "Nashville, Tennessee November 9, 1955" and on "Classic Everly Brothers." The studio musicians were county star Carl Smith's band The Tunesmiths, who had just gotten off tour and back home to Nashville when they were roped into backing a young unknown duo in the studio before going home.

"Keep A Loving' Me" was written by Don and Phil, and "The Sun Keeps Shining" was written by Don, but, after its release, the record went nowhere on the charts.

Everlypedia: Phil: “When we got the contract with Columbia, it was to sing country music so we made sure we had country music! Country music isn’t really what we could do; these were just to get the job done. There were other things that we had that nobody was interested in. Elvis had just come out with "Hound Dog" and Don and I were doing a waltz . . . while the rest of the world was rockin’ and rollin’. But to get on country music records, we had to show them that song that Don had written. We would have done anything for the $50 session fee, but we were stinko, boy! Really stinko!”

The duo was dropped by Columbia, and Don and Phil went back to surviving on little food and singing in the alleys of The Ryman Auditorium during Grand Ole Opry performances. Eventually, Chet Atkins led the brothers to Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose Music, and Rose led them to Archie Bleyer of Cadence Records, where they were signed to a record label for a second time.

Columbia Records publicity photo, 1956.

On tour, as Columbia recording artists.

Last update on November 30, 2:41 pm by Mary.
The two Columbia songs unreleased, until 1981:
With a little more practice, some inspiration (that Margaret had an abundance of) and never gave up on her sons, and a famous mentor, they became the "it" guys and there was no stopping them.
"Basically, every rock 'n' roller is a hybrid of some very diverse influences, and we were no exception. But our most direct influence was Dad and all that Kentucky heritage.

"Chet Atkins knew of Dad and they corresponded every once in a while. When we got to Nashville, Dad asked Chet whether he'd be able to do anything for the boys. Chet had this publishing company, so we went over there and showed him some songs. Donald had written this one song called "Thou Shalt Not Steal." Chet got Kitty Wells to cut it and it went Top 10.

"Now you gotta remember, I'm fourteen at the time and Donald is sixteen, and he writes this hit, and it gets us into the union and provides us with enough money to buy our first cowboy suits. It also puts tires on the Chevy, and gets Donald several pair of suede shoes.

Then we got signed to Columbia, and they put a record out. It's still the funniest story of my whole life. We cut four sides in twenty minutes, and I still don't believe they would have signed us but for this one lady. We auditioned up in a hotel room, and this lady was there and she said, "Oh, they're so cute." And we were signed.

"Don and I got a $200 publishing advance from Hill and Range. Well, Columbia released the first side, and we spent the entire $200 on 2,000 fold-out promotional copies of the second release, which never came out because the first one had died so miserably.

"So our $200 was gone. And that was major money at the time, the difference between living and dying.

"We hung around borderline broke for the next two years. We auditioned for every label in the United States, were turned down at least ten times. Then we got this girl we knew to talk this guy into giving us the use of a studio to make a tape. God knows what she promised him, but he gave us some free time. While we were in the studio recording, our car was towed and we had to get the girl to borrow twenty dollars from the studio guy so we could get our car back."

-- Phil Everly, 1988, from "Off The Record: An Oral History of Popular Music," by Joe Smith, president of Warner Bros.

Columbia Records publicity photo, 1956.
Last update on December 19, 1:04 pm by Mary.
I have ordered the Bear Family Records set, Classic Everly Brothers. I guess it has gotten delayed in the Christmas rush because I have not received it yet. This set has 3 CDs and a booklet with it very similar to the Heartache and Harmonies set I ordered in early Fall. Can't wait to review it. I did not know this set was in existence until I started reading about the Everly Brothers and the Louisiana Hayride. This set covers the Everly Brothers very early career. This caption was attached to a review of the set.

"This box set spans the years 1955-1960 and includes demos, radio transcriptions and a 12 x 12 44-page booklet with notes and photos.The three-disc box set Classic Everly Brothers collects all of their Cadence recordings, including alternate takes, as well as several early radio shows and the four tracks the duo recorded for Columbia in 1955. While this music is the most essential the brothers ever made, the disc of rarities is only of interest to devoted fans. Nevertheless, the sound on the box is stellar, the liner notes are excellent, and the whole package is wonderful; for hardcore fans, the set is worth the money. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine"
Last update on December 29, 11:37 am by Lenore.

With band leader Johnny Otis, 1955, around the time of the brothers' short-lived Columbia contract.

June 1956. The publication got their Columbia Records song title wrong, and, what's worse, the guys' switched sides!
Last update on May 1, 1:23 pm by Mary.

Columbia Records catalog, 1956.

A Columbia promo photo. Text on card:

"Stars of
Radio and TV
Stage and

Don & Phil
The Everly Bros.
Exclusive Columbia Recording Artists

Eddie Crandall
319 7th Ave. No.
Nashville, Tenn.
AL 4-6143
Last update on November 15, 9:59 pm by Mary.
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