Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, one of the biggest rock country acts of the ‘50s and early ‘60s, died on Friday at the age of 74, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Everly died in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his wife Patti told the Times for a story on the paper’s website.
“We are absolutely heartbroken,” Patti Everly told the paper. “He fought long and hard,” she said.
The Everly Brothers, Phil and his older brother Don, profoundly influenced ’60s-era artists from Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Simon and Garfunkel, the Byrds, the Hollies and the Beach Boys.
Phil and Don had an onstage breakup in 1973 that led to a decade-long estrangement, but Phil later told Time magazine their relationship had endured:
“Don and I are infamous for our split,” Phil said, “but we’re closer than most brothers. Harmony singing requires that you enlarge yourself, not use any kind of suppression. Harmony is the ultimate love.”
In 1983, after a decade of solo projects, they reunited for a show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Backed by a rock-solid band that included Albert Lee on guitar, the brothers drew critical acclaim, and the concert yielded an album and a DVD.