In an update on his Facebook page, Paul McCartney honored Phil Everly, the Everly Brothers member who died last week. “Phil Everly was one of my great heroes,” McCartney wrote. “With his brother Don, they were one of the major influences on the Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don. Years later, when I finally met Phil, I was completely star-struck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul. I will always love him for giving me some of the sweetest musical memories of my life.”
McCartney had previously shown his affection for the Everly Brothers when he wrote a song for the siblings to sing in the early Eighties. The track, “On the Wings of a Nightingale,” was the first track on the duo’s 1984 album EB84, their first record of new material after an 11-year break. The Beatle played guitar on the recording, and the single ended up reaching Number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100. It spent three months on the charts.
Author Mark Lewisohn documented the Beatles’ interest in the Everlys in his recent book Tune In. CNN found an entry in which the group, who had just added George Harrison, reacted to hearing the Everly Brothers’ “All You Have to Do Is Dream” in 1958. “When we first heard it, it blew us away,” McCartney said.
Paul Simon also noted the Everlys’ impact on the Beatles – as well as on his own duo with Art Garfunkel – in a 2004 Rolling Stone article. “The Everly Brothers’ impact exceeds even their fame,” he wrote at the time. “They were a big influence on John Lennon and Paul McCartney and, of course, on Simon and Garfunkel.”