by Jason Everly
The first beat, the first strum, the first bar of the intro to Bye Bye Love and You...Just...Know! Every moment after that, something has fundamentally changed in music. Don and Phil Everly were already blessed with God-given good looks, voices that could make the angels jealous and a cool, effortless style that would make them icons for generations.
But one of the most under appreciated and often overlooked talents the brothers had, was their guitar playing. Don Everly, having been deeply inspired by Bo Diddley, was especially innovative with his alternate tunings, unusual playing style, and creative rhythms. The only problem was that they were signed as country acts on the New York City-based Cadence Records. Bo Diddley was a lot of things, but a country guitar player he was not.
But the recording session on March 1st 1957 at RCA’s Studio B was going to change all of that.
While working up the arrangement of Bye Bye Love with the likes of Chet Atkins, Buddy Harmon and all the best studio musicians in Nashville, Don had the idea to add an intro he had created for a song called “Give Me A Future.” Everyone in the studio, including Cadence Records owner, Archie Bleyer, instantly knew that this unusual guitar lick with it’s cool, innovative rhythmic cadence on the front of Bye Bye Love, was something very special.
Don Everly, who had just turned 20 on February 1st and Phil Everly, who had just turned 18 on January 19th, had walked into Studio B on March 1st 1957 as unproven and unknown Country artists. They walked out as one of the unquestioned founders of all of Rock and Roll.
Phil, in later years, always spoke of how important Don’s lick on Bye Bye Love was to the invention of Rock and Roll as a whole. He called them “incongruous chords.” Meaning a progression that was not part of the song. He always said it was the basis for the intro guitar licks in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.
All we know, is that because of that recording session on March 1st 1957 in Studio B, the world would get a chance to meet The Everly Brothers. And all of our lives are better for it.
Thank you Don and Phil.