Song: “Cathy’s Clown” by the Everly Brothers
Reached #1: May 23, 1960 (their fourth, 5 weeks)
The Everly Brothers have been entertainers almost from birth. Their father, Ike, enlisted the boys in his musical act very early on, taking the Everly Family on the road before settling in Shenandoah, Iowa.
They got a foot in the door with their songwriting, signing with Acuff-Rose on the promise of a recording contract in exchange for their writing talents. That was good, and bad. It got them started, but it also got them cut off from their own work for several years in the early ‘60s after a dispute with Acuff-Rose boss Wesley Rose. But that was in the future when “Cathy’s Clown” came out. It was their fourth and final #1. Some sources say there were only three #1s from the Everlys, but those sources chose not to count the one week “Bird Dog” spent on one of the last Billboard Best Seller charts in August 1958, during the few weeks after the debut of the Hot 100.
“Cathy’s Clown” also marked the entry into the music business of Warner Brothers Studios – literally. It carried Warner Bros. catalog number WB1.
Unfortunately, the act didn’t last for long on their first run. By 1961, while feuding with Acuff-Rose, the Everlys enlisted in the Marine Corps, basically taking themselves out of the public eye. When they came back, they had drug issues, and then got swept away by the British Invasion.
They soldiered on until 1973, aiming mostly at the country audience, before a dispute between the brothers led to them reportedly not speaking to each other for a decade. Their reunion in a 1983 London concert was followed by their charter induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
They’re both basically retired now, but will still make the occasional appearance.
Tomorrow, a boy-band #1 that will still get stuck in your head, 15 years later…
Other songs that reached #1 on May 23:
1998 – “My All” by Mariah Carey (her thirteenth, 1 week)