Bye Bye Love

January 4, 2014

Some of you may know, some not, that my father was a studio musician in Nashville. He worked with a lot of entertainers, but to me most of them were just people who existed in theory, not reality. I never met most of them, or when I did it was fleeting and had little impact on me in the long run. Some I desperately wanted to meet, and others I could have given less than a penny for. But there was one I bragged about knowing, not due to his fame, but because he was someone I cared about, and considered a mentor— Phil Everly.

Thru most of my high school and college days, the Everly Brothers were a big part of my life. My father was on tour, or recoding with them, almost constantly during that time. In a way, they paid for my education, the food on my table, and the day to day parts of my life. When the summers came around, my brother or I would go on tour with my dad, but more so my brother. He was older so less likely to get in the way, and he had an interest in the music industry; I didn’t, so I was usually bored on the road. The only thing I enjoyed about it was seeing Phil. He was the one who wouldn’t snarl at me if I came into his dressing room to hang out, I never felt ignored, in his way, or a bother. Phil never talked down to me, rather to me. He seemed interested in what I was doing, the girl I was in love with (that week), or my own dreams. In a lot of ways he was a second father thru those years. I remember him giving me advice on girls, how to ask them out (but it never seemed to help, as fat guys rarely get the girl- doesn’t tv teach us that?), and I remember him taking the time to teach me how to tie an actual bow tie. People didn’t wear them at all back then, but I always loved how the Everlys would come out on stage, decked out in those bow ties, and by the end of the show the ties would be hanging around their necks, all hip looking. I thought it was cool— very 60s lounge act kind of cool.

The first time I ever really knew who he was, was from a tv game show. I had heard the name being bantered in the house by my dad, but he was just a name until I saw him on “Make Me Laugh!“. The premise was that a comedian would try to make a contestant crack up, and they won money for keeping a straight face; Phil was one of those “stars” playing for a charity, sort of thing. I still remember watching him almost lose it, but holding it together long enough to win. The first time I met him, I asked him about it. He cranked out that giggle of his, that classic smile came across his face, and his soft voice with the gritty tone to it just said “Oh yeah, I almost lost it, man, that guy was hilarious!”. Then he giggled some more, put his arm around my shoulder, and started chatting with my dad. We just stood there, I don’t remember what they were talking about, I didn’t utter another word, but I never felt I wasn’t part of the conversation. It may seem insignificant, but the fact he didn’t brush me off, took the time to answer my silly kid question, and made me feel like I belonged there, it really hit home with me. 

I can’t possibly say we were friends, but I idolized Phil, just as a kid does an uncle. In truth that’s how I saw him, as an uncle. It’s in that way I think of him, it’s in that way I’ll miss him. I’ll miss his humor, his laugh, his talent, and those Christmas cards of his. When we didn’t get one this year, I knew something wasn’t right. I should have called, but in my mind, he was giant, and you don’t bother a giant without a good reason. I wish I had. 

What a goofball

This was the sort of goofy card he’d send out, something my wife and I looked forward to every year; this one was our personal favorite. 

If you want to know about Phil Everly’s hits, or his life, read a news site. All I can tell you is I thought he was a good man, a caring guy, and that he will be missed. I know that for a fact, because I’m missing him now. 

Bye bye love, say hi to my dad for me. I miss you both. 

PS- careful with this one G, it hurts.