Don Everly teamed up with his brother, Phil Everly, to form the popular '50s and '60s rock duo the Everly Brothers. Their first album, Bye Bye Love, gained them international recognition and fame. Born in Brownie, KY, Don Everly was the son of Ike and Margaret Everly, popular country singers in the '40s. Don and Phil would frequently appear on their parents' radio shows and tour with them. The boys then embarked on their own in the '50s when they moved to Nashville. Kitty Wells recorded Don Everly's composition "Thou Shalt Not Steal" in 1954, and soon the boys were making a name for themselves.
The Everly Brothers' success began in 1957 when they made Felice and Boudleaux Bryant's song "Bye Bye Love" into a major hit. The combination of folk and country made a certain style that even those who opposed the music of the generation enjoyed. The two went on to record "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Bird Dog," and "Devoted to You," all Bryant songs. These successes made the Everly Brothers the number one vocal group by the end of the '50s. "Cathy's Clown," a single written by Don, remained number one in the U.S. for five weeks and stayed in the top of the charts in the U.K. for more than two months, selling more than three million copies.
Phil Everly performed a solo set while Don recuperated from a drug overdose. His addiction lasted three years, during which time the two performed only occasionally. By 1965, the duo took a back seat to the new sound of the beat boom; sporadic success continued as "The Price of Love" and "Love Is Strange" scored high on the U.K. charts. However, their 1966 album, Two Yanks in England, failed to make the charts.
In 1973, with many unsuccessful albums and Don Everly's turmoil, the duo parted. During this time, Don Everly pursued a solo career. He found success in Nashville with his band Dead Cowboys and maintained a career by playing with Albert Lee. In June of 1983, the duo reunited and played for a standing-room-only audience at London's Royal Albert Hall. They achieved recognition again in 1984 with Paul McCartney's "Wings of a Nightingale." Despite hardships throughout his career, Don Everly was rewarded in 1986 when the duo was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.