Adria Petty remembers going to school in Los Angeles with Chris Everly and seeing his father, Phil Everly, picking him up from school. Adria’s own father, Tom Petty, also spotted the Everlys in the carpool line. “My dad started coming over because Phil Everly was there,” Adria tells American Songwriter. “The only way you could have gotten my dad into a school, of any kind, was if you put an Everly brother at its entrance.”
Tom and Phil became friends, the former a staunch admirer of the latter. Adria vividly remembers her father playing The Everly Brothers records at home, constantly studying the brothers’ stories, showmanship and guitar playing. After hooking up with Phil, Tom befriended the Everly family. Tom would even be the one to give the brothers their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986. As a result of this friendship, the musicians’ children also became friends. “There is a connection between [us]”, says Adria.
Adria explains that she has bonded with many child musicians over the years because of their shared experiences. “We have this kind of reverence for the flow that they were in — when they would be in the flow and do these incredible things,” Adria says. “We’ve all had a very similar life experience, which was making a lot of sacrifices to make room for that creativity. He took up a lot of space in our world.”
Such was life. Life was full of schoolwork and music, playing sports and attending concerts. But both Adria and Jason Everly, one of Phil’s sons, felt incredibly lucky to have seen their fathers’ creativity as someone close to them.
“Our parents have a lot in common,” continues Adria, “because they were extremely strong in their craft and took it to a religious level. They took it very seriously and were accomplished singer-songwriters and players. My father practiced every day of his life. He had a guitar in his hands every day of his life, even if it was just casually before eating a sandwich.”
And in Phil Everly’s view, music was treated like a business, as Jason explains. The music business was also a serious matter for Brother Everly. “My dad would say in later years, ‘Before there was Pro Tools out there [were] pro,” says Jason.
This seriousness about their craft paid off tenfold, then 10fold again. The Everly Brothers helped define the rock ‘n’ roll genre with their signature Kentucky twang, steel wire sounds and close harmonies. Songs like “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Susie” would move their way into the hearts of millions and The Everly Brothers would enjoy a continuous career as a duo from 1951 to 2005. On the other hand , Petty saw great industry and mainstream success as a rock singer/songwriter. There are few songs that have influenced the world like “Free Fallin'”. Ultimately, both The Everly Brothers and Petty would see their inductions into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after numerous hit records.
Unfortunately, after accomplished careers, each of the rock legends would pass away in the 2010s and 2020s: Phil Everly in 2014, Tom Petty in 2017, and Don Everly in 2021. After each of their respective deaths, Adria, Jason and The estate family was not only left with the responsibility of honoring the lives of their family members, but also with their vast music catalogs. For Adria and Jason specifically, there was a growing desire to ensure that their fathers’ work continued to inspire music listeners for generations to come.
As a result, Adria worked directly with her father’s music catalog through the Tom Petty estate. Recently, however, Adria was assigned to help Jason and the Everly estate preserve and honor the music of the rockin’ Everly Brothers in a new compilation of their music titled Hey Doll Babywhich was first released on Record Store Day, April 2022.
The compilation album is a Side 1 and Side 2 album with eight Everly Brothers songs on side one and nine on side two. Each song was carefully selected from the assets of Adria and The Everly Brothers to best represent the Brothers’ rockabilly heritage. Adria explains that curating the playlist was like going on an archaeological dig; each song gently plucked from the sands of a lengthy discography.
The focus of this dig was not on rediscovering and reworking just Everly Brothers hits, but rather on timeless deep cuts and covers. A few mainstream hits were also included, but they by no means dominate the record. In this way, the collection of Everly Brothers songs showcases the brothers’ self-made roots and sharp Americana sound. After all, Jason recalls, his father and uncle had built their careers from the ground up. In fact, at the time, trying to get their first big break, the brothers relied on their parents’ financial support. So by the time they took their first leave, they were only about two or three weeks away from “calling it a day” and “getting a job,” Jason says. Consequently, their story inspired their loved ones to create Hey Doll Baby. It was the properties way of highlighting the lesser known triumphs of The Everly Brothers.
“What ended up happening with music, which I think is kind of unfortunate, is that it just got packaged over and over again into different varieties of greatest hits. They’re all called ‘Golden Hits’ or this kind of hit or re-recorded this or that,” says Adria. “But the truth is, there’s a huge range of music that ranges from Country/Americana to rockabilly and old standards. really incredible, some of which we put Hey Doll Baby.
“There’s so much depth from the beginning,” Jason adds, “and I think what Adria is saying is that there’s so much material that because of the circumstances maybe got overlooked. But the genius, the quality of what they did throughout this material needs to be re-explored now. And Adria has done a great job on this record… we need to really focus on that and bring it to the attention of the world.”
“It’s still important and still affects you,” confirms Adria.
Off the title, “Hey Doll Baby,” which was written by Titus Turner, has a fantastic cover of “I Walk The Line” (originally sung by Johnny Cash). Adria also discovered “an excellent Maybellene”. [originally sung by Chuck Berry].”
“This [type of song] they can be overlooked because they are not original songs,” says Adria. “But, you know, to me, they were cool and important, and they really highlight the guitar playing. And there was something less orchestrated and scary about the songs we chose. They felt very visceral and almost like you were standing next to them while they recorded it.”
Another deep cut on the record is “Gone, Gone, Gone.” In Jason’s opinion, the Don/Phil written song wasn’t played enough when the Brothers were on tour. It also happens to be one of Jason Everly Brothers favorite upbeat songs. “It’s too cool for school,” Jason says of the song. “It’s like they’re almost clapping with the Beatles,” adds Adria.
Other songs on the record include the aforementioned hits “Devoted to You,” “Cathy’s Clown,” and “Love Hurts.”
All of these tracks on the double-sided disc showcase the music of two brothers who believed that life without music wasn’t a great life. Their very essence is sewn into these songs, with all the lesser-known genre-bending treasures. And as for those who are perhaps most influenced by The Everly Brothers’ legacy — their family and friends — Jason and Adria explain that they’ve passed on the Brothers’ importance to their children.
**insert image of Everly Petty with Tom Petty**
“My daughter’s name is Everly Petty,” says Adria. “My dad liked that because, to us, Everly meant perfect harmony. So when we were trying to come up with a name for my daughter, my dad and I came up with that name. He also liked it because it’s the same initials as Elvis Presley. He was an Elvis fan… And she had a very musical upbringing. She is an incredible singer. And music is an important part of the food groups in our lives.” Jason’s own daughters also play The Everly Brothers in reruns. “They both have 10 or 20 Everly Brothers songs on their playlists. Very few hits, actually,” says Jason.
Thus, music has always been a part of the Everlys’ and Pettys’ lives. But now the next generation bears the responsibility of a musical legacy. However, it is a responsibility they are more than happy to take on. “It feels like a very noble cause,” Adria says of her work with Everly Properties. “There’s just a legacy of respecting, understanding, playing and preserving music in this family that I have a lot of respect for.”
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