"Take a Message to Mary" (1959)
This underrated minor hit is a sad ballad about a man separated from his lover after a careless gunshot lands him in jail for life. The band – who always used spare arrangements during this period – tapped a screwdriver against a coke bottle as percussion. "I don't believe in perfection," says Waddy Wachtel, who joined the Everly Brothers band as guitarist in 1972 and later worked with everyone from Warren Zevon to Keith Richards. "But this record is the closest that anyone has ever come to singing in perfect harmony. I do believe every word and syllable are as close to perfect as is humanly – or in their case, inhumanly possible – because I feel humans could never sing this well. It's a miraculous record."