Remembering Bye Bye Love on it's 65th anniversary of the recording session
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.
HEY DOLL BABY
Phil and Don Everly were unparalleled rock and roll trailblazers and country rock pioneers. Their timeless harmonies made them one of the first superstar acts in music history and profoundly impacted generations of artists to follow. The Everly Brothers’ hits from late-1950s helped lay the very foundation for rock and roll itself and the albums they made with Warner Bros. Records in the 1960s revealed the depth of their talents as both songwriters and singers.
The Everly Brothers were seminal to many of the masters of rock and pop music in one way, shape, or form; owing to their country roots, Bo Diddley influence, their original take on singing, song writing, and formidable musicianship. Their profound influence has been credited by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Gram Parsons, Tom Petty, and Linda Ronstadt as a North Star. And their influence continues to be evident through each passing decade as more modern artists such as Pearl Jam, Cat Power, and Angel Olsen distill their inspiration. The duo’s timeless songs and vocal arrangements have been covered by a legendary stable of artists including everyone from Ray Charles, The Who, and Reba McEntire. With a sense of notable homage and devotion from powerhouse duos such as Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss as well.
HEY DOLL BABY is a newly remastered 17-track compilation that collects some of the lesser-known, buried treasures in the Everly Brothers’ rich catalog with songs assembled by Adria Petty, Tom Petty’s daughter, who worked closely with both Everly families on the project, with help from Phil’s widow Patti and son Jason, who provided track-by-track commentary for the liner notes, as well as Don Everly, prior to his passing last summer, and his widow Adela. HEY DOLL BABY holds the bittersweet distinction of being the final project Don worked on.
HEY DOLL BABY will make its debut for Record Store Day 2022 on April 23 as a limited edition of 7,500 copies worldwide on baby-blue vinyl.
Petty says she became a fan of The Everly Brothers through her father. “The Everly Brothers held a special place in his heart because they were the rock ’n’ roll trailblazers he related to the most. Self-made and determined like him. From the time I was around five years old, he passed on his passion for their music and story to me.”
HEY DOLL BABY explores The Everly Brothers’ legacy by not revisiting their greatest hits. Petty explains: “This compilation was curated with an eye towards celebrating the deeper rockabilly tracks and some great covers, with a small emphasis on hits. Whether you are new to The Everly Brothers or are among the diehard fans, this is sequenced for a great listening experience. Put this record on and get transported to another time and place. It will leave you feeling better.”
HEY DOLL BABY delivers on that promise with the swinging rockabilly of “Baby What You Want Me To Do” and the pure pop bliss of “Made To Love,” along with choice covers of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line” and Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene.” The collection features four of the Everly’s original Cadence recordings including the title track and the Top 10 hits “(’Til) I Kissed You” (#4), “When Will I Be Loved” (#7), and “Devoted To You” (#10). The set also includes the #1 smash, “Cathy’s Clown,” which was the Everly Brothers’ first Warner Bros. single in 1960, and the best-selling song of their career.
In the album’s liner notes, Jason Everly provides insight into each song on the album, beginning the title track, “Hey Doll Baby,” which was the last song on The Everly Brothers’ 1957 self-titled debut. He writes: “Its classic Appalachian harmony mixed with rhythm & blues would become part of the brothers’ signature sound, and with each strum of their infectious guitars, it’s like they’re pushing the song into becoming actual rock ’n’ roll.”