Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Everly Brothers: Music Transports

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I loved the Everly Brothers, their love songs full of double entendres, and the innocent time their music embraced. 

Music, perhaps more than anything else, transports us to specific places, moods, experiences.  Music evokes memories, vivid, supersaturated memories. More than that, music evokes the feelings associated with those memories, the deepest of feelings. The highs and the lows. The joy and the sorrow.  First love, last love, lost love, screw ups. 

As soon as I heard the news that Phil Everly had died, I started singing "Bye, Bye Love. Bye, bye happiness; hello sweet caress; I think I’m going to die…Bye,bye my love, goodbye.”  Other songs popped into my head.  I remembered the words, the times.

I was back in Rochester, NY, in high school, swaying and swinging to “All I have to do is Dream" and“ Wake up little Susie.”   I was at my pink desk in the little study off my sister's and my bedroom, the desk my mom had lovingly painted and hand decorated in a Japanese motif.  I was in the student lounge at school, painted in large black and white squares with a window exit into a nearby field and Allen's creek.  I joined friends at a hamburger joint; drove my dad’s Oldsmobile convertible with the top down and the radio blaring; went to at a sock hop and danced the jitterbug under a crystal ball that radiated beams of light all over the gym. I joked and laughed with a boyfriend, my first love.  

Elvis Presley promoting "Jailhouse
Rock." yahoo public image.
My friend Rindy and I had a little competition going.  She loved Elvis; I loved the Everly Brothers.  We’d sing and shout across the room.  We cheered when we heard our favorites.  She gyrated with Elvis. Heartbreak Hotel!  I swooned with Don and Phil. Cathy’s Clown!

“It’s like knowing where you were when JFK was shot,” my sister Andy said, as we shared the memories. "Yes, or when the Twin Towers were attacked, and having the same feelings you had then." 

The very same feelings all over again, because your brain has been jarred, and your heart.  The news touches something deep within.  The news of Phil's death touched something deep inside: "The day the music died."

“Harmony is the ultimate love,” Phil said.    

And the best harmonies of all time at that time were the songs of the Everly Brothers. They came after Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, around the time of Elvis, but before Crosby, Stills and Nash, before Simon and Garfunkle and the Beatles.  

That “river of music absorbed many streams,” Don Everly said of this tradition and the sounds of his and his brother’s music, a kind of fusion of country and rock and roll. The harmony twanged at times; the guitar definitely rocked. 

Oh, to be carried into heaven on the wings of an Everly Brothers' song.  The times have changed, beyond our wildest dreams, but the music lives on.  "Oh my love, my darling...I'll be coming home. Wait for me."

Unchained Melody (the theme song of the movie "Ghosts")

(Chorus)
Oh my love, my darling
I've hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine
I need your love, I need your love
God speed your love to me
Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea
To the open arms of the sea, yeah
Lonely rivers sigh 'Wait for me, wait for me'
I'll be coming home, wait for me
(Chorus)
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