When Simon and Garfunkel reunited for a world tour in 2003 they knew only one group could possibly share the bill with them: the Everly Brothers. As teenagers, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel used to sing Everly Brothers songs on the grounds of Forest Hills High School. They were their single biggest influence, with no close second.
There was just one problem. Don and Phil Everly had an even worse history of fighting than Simon and Garfunkel. They hadn’t even spoken in about three years, let alone performed together. “They basically came out of retirement for us,” said Paul Simon. “I said, ‘Phil, look, if you’re going to retire, you might as well come out one more time and take a bow and let me at least say what it is that you meant to us and to the culture.'”
Simon and Garfunkel didn’t want their biggest influences to actually open for them, so the Everlys were called onstage in the middle of the show to perform “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Let It Be Me” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream” before Simon and Garfunkel came back out to join them on “Bye Bye Love.” Seeing two of the most combative duos in rock history all sharing the stage was a pretty incredible sight.
“It was hilarious that the four of us were doing this tour, given our collective histories of squabbling,” said Simon. “And it’s amazing, because they hadn’t seen each other in about three years. They met in the parking lot before the first gig. They unpacked their guitars — those famous black guitars — and they opened their mouths and started to sing. And after all these years, it was still that sound I fell in love with as a kid. It was still perfect.”
The tour was a huge success and was extended into 2004. The Everly Brothers must have enjoyed the experience, because in 2005 they went on a brief headlining tour of England. A couple of American dates were announced for later in the year, but they were canceled without explanation. They haven’t appeared together in public once in the past eight years.