Tag Archives: Columbia Records

Singers: The Everly Brothers


Only Hall & Oates have more top 40 singles as a vocal duo than the Everly Brothers, who had 26 in the late 50s and early 60s. Uploaded by tinypic.com.

It’s no secret that some of the best harmonies in recording history come from family groups. Chief among these are Don and Phil Everly, two Kentucky boys who began singing with their family from the time they were 7 and 5, respectively. Their first recording with Columbia Records was a flop, and the label dropped them. They then were picked up by the new Cadence Records, for whom they recorded most of their hits.

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The Everlys had 26 Billboard Top 40 singles, trailing only Hall and Oates for the most by a vocal duo. Among them (and their highest chart position) were:

  • “Bye Bye Love” (1957, #2)
  • “Wake Up Little Susie” (1957, #1)
  • “All I Have to do Is Dream” (1958, #1)
  • “Bird Dog” (1958, #3)
  • “Devoted to You” (1958, #10)
  • “Till I Kissed You” (1959, #4)
  • “Let It Be Me” (1960, #7)
  • “Cathy’s Clown” (1960, #1)
  • “When Will I Be Loved” (1960, #8)
  • “Walk Right Back” (1961, #7)
  • “Crying in the Rain” (1962, #6

The Everly Brothers influenced many of the most popular groups of the 1960s, including the Beatles. Their legacy is obvious from the Halls of Fame in which they’ve been inducted: Rock and Roll, Country Music, Vocal Group, and Rockabilly. They’ve earned a Lifetime Grammy, and Rolling Stone ranked them number 33 in their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Song: “Piano Man”

Ask anyone to name the first Billy Joel song that comes to mind, and chances are they'll say Piano Man. Yet it only reached number 25 on the top 100 chart. Uploaded by livemusiciancentral.com.

Despite Billy Joel’s long and successful career, his numerous top ten hits and best-selling albums, if you’re asked to think of one of his songs the first that usually comes to mind is “Piano Man.” It peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Top 100.

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But it really is a great song. Joel had recorded an album that tanked, and was trying to get out of his contract to sign with Columbia Records. In the meantime, he took a job as a bar singer, and “Piano Man” came from that experience. Joel says all the characters in the song (John the bartender, Paul the real estate novelist, Davy in the Navy, and the waitress practicing politics) are all based either on bar patrons or on people he knew.

The song was featured on Joel’s first album for Columbia, appropriately titled Piano Man. It made the list of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time… at number 421. Man, what are you doing here?