SONG: All I Have to Do Is Dream
ARTIST: The Everly Brothers
Listen to it here:
All I Have to do is Dream was written in 1958 by Boudleaux Bryant and recorded and released by the Everly Brothers that same year. They recorded it in only 2 takes with country giant Chet Atkins on guitar. The song hit number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Billboard R&B charts and saw massive success internationally. It is considered one of the songs that helped shape rock and roll and saw many cover versions throughout the years.
The Everly Brothers consisted of two real life brothers Don (February 1, 1937 – August 21, 2021) who sang baritone and Phil (January 19, 1939 – January 3 2014) who sang tenor. They were born into a musical family that saw their first musical performances on the radio as The Everly Family. While still in high school they started gaining notoriety thanks to Chet Atkins and other Nashville greats and by 1957 they recorded and released their first hit, “Bye Bye Love”, followed by “Wake Up Little Susie” and “All I Have to do is Dream” in 1958. In 1961 the brothers enlisted in the Marine Corps reserve and pretty much stopped recording, their last charting song being in 1962. By then musical tastes started to change, they were feuding with the CEO of their management company and getting involved in drugs so they saw a drop off in popularity and eventually broke up in 1973. They both saw some success with solo careers, singing backup for other performers until they reunited in 1983 and performed again as the Everly Brothers until Phil’s passing in 2014 from lung disease. Don joined his brother in 2021.
The Everly Brothers were hugely influential to many of the biggest acts of the 1960s including the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel.
Don and Phil sing back up on Paul Simon’s mega hit “Graceland”.
The brothers had a total meltdown on stage at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1973 – Don was much too drunk and forgot words, and Phil was so upset about it he smashed his guitar and walked offstage.
Ah, my favourite Everly Brothers song! I used to be really into the Everly Brothers but as I’ve aged I don’t really listen to their stuff as much, but I still love this song. One thing I really like about the Everly Brothers that I can hear super well in this song is that their voices are so similar (they are brothers, after all) and their harmonies are so tight that their vocals just sound like one unit rather than two separate people. I don’t think the Everly’s individually have GREAT voices. They’re not like Tom Jones or Luther Vandross, but the magic happens when they come together. I never really noticed the drums and their completely serviceable ‘ ‘ti-ti-ta-ta ” throughout the entirety of the song. I must say I really like the tremolo guitar that Chet Atkins plays. That tremolo effect is so indicative of that time in the 1960s and we hear it a lot with The Ventures and the Shadows, and I think it works really well on this track. Apparently there’s bass on here as well, but there may as well not be. The lyrics themselves are sweet, not super sappy like some of the other songs of the 1950s we’ve listened to. This is such a great example of a seamless blend and in my opinion, a very pretty song.
Apparently I know all the words to this song, still. It’s an incredibly short and simple song that skyrocketed to number 1 and does a great job of highlighting what the Everly Brothers do best – sing in harmony with each other. According to conversations with my sister, siblings’ voices are often similar in timbre and meld really well together with harmonies, and the Everly Brothers display this perfectly. The one thing that did not stay with me at all about this song from hearing it a million times in my childhood is the somewhat ominous electric guitar chord it starts out with. Past that, this song feels so familiar. It’s got that hit-maker ratio of a short, memorable chorus repeated a bunch of times and very little substance to the verses. The Everly Brothers’ voices are really interesting. They’re definitely taking a different direction from some of their contemporaries by keeping their voices sounding very sweet, with a little bit of fast vibrato, and some kind of nasal timbre. I like this song. It’s maybe a nostalgia like, but I like it.
Average mark out of 10:
Other notable versions of this song:
Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal with a version:
Canadian queen Anne Murray:
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