Song of the Week – Rock and Roll Medley – The Everly Brothers

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Last Saturday I was saddened to learn that Phil Everly died. I’ve always been partial to harmony vocals, so the Everly Brothers were one of my favorite groups. I’m clearly not alone in that. Rock bands from the 60s through today have paid tribute to the Everlys, incorporating their close harmony style into their own music or recording covers of their songs.

It’s been said the The Beatles once considered calling themselves The Foreverly Brothers – clearly a tip of the hat to Phil and Don. No less than Bob Dylan included two of their songs on his Self Portrait album that was recently given new life in 2013 due to a Bootleg Series reissue.

In the 1970s Simon and Garfunkle put a (live) version of “Bye Bye Love” on Bridge Over Troubled Water. Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris covered “Love Hurts” and Linda Ronstadt sang “When Will I Be Loved.”

Skip ahead to the new millennium and you have Alison Krauss and Robert Plant doing “Gone, Gone, Gone.” “Cathy’s Clown” gets a shout out in Elliott Smith’s “Waltz 2 (XO).” And just this past Thanksgiving week, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones released a full album of Everly Brothers covers called Foreverly.

The SotW is a cut I discovered last year in MOJO magazine. There was a piece that had Will Oldham (aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy) describing one of his favorite pieces of music – the full album side, 18 minute “Rock and Roll Medley” from the Everly Brothers 1970 album, The Everly Brothers Show.

The Everly Brothers are supported by a really hot band that includes guitar wiz Sam McCue, bassist Robert Knigge and drummer Al “Tiny” Schneider. This medley is like a freight train rolling down the tracks at too high a speed. They round a couple of turns where things get a little wobbly, but always seem to catch up with one another and choogle ahead.

The clip offered here is just a 5 minute sampling of the performance. But the full “Medley” is available on Spotify. Listening to the whole thing is a commitment but, trust me, it’s worth it.

The albums label lists 7 songs in the medley: “Rock and Roll Music,” “The End,” “Aquarius,” “If I Were a Carpenter,” “The Price of Love,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” and “The Games People Play.” But there are more nuggets hidden in the piece. It’s like an Easter egg hunt trying to find them. I hear a bit of The Who’s Tommy near the beginning. Then, just after the drum and bass solos (yes, there are drum and bass solos) the band slips into the riff from “Ticket to Ride” for just a short moment. It’s beautiful.

The boys did have a 10 episode summer replacement television show (for The Johnny Cash Show) on ABC called The Everly Brothers Show, but album of the same name was not a soundtrack. The album was recorded from a live performance at the Grand Hotel in Anaheim, CA.

Enjoy… until next week.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Rock and Roll Medley – The Everly Brothers

  1. This is ridiculous. It is soooooo goood it is hard to believe these guys pulled this off.

    I heard riffs from Sparks (from Tommy) before the solos as well, and some of the licks from Clapton (I’m So Glad) during the guitar solo.

    Could do without the solos, but hell, this is so good, whatever they really want to do is fine with me.

    Also, when the go into The End, it was hard for me at first to figure whether they were doing The Doors or The Beatles (which I like).

  2. I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, but I was struck that of these rock ‘n’ roll songs with a backbeat that you can use, only Rock and Roll and The Price of Love really qualified. The rest were reset to fit the medley, and perhaps promote the relatively recently released Price of Love. They were great.

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