REPRISE INSISTS ONE EVERLY MUST DIE TO PROMOTE TRIBUTE LP
(Burbank, California) – It is the last feud the famously fractious siblings will have, but Reprise Records insisted that Phil Everly, not brother Don, be the one to pass away yesterday as part of efforts to promote the Billie Joe Armstrong/Norah Jones Everly Brothers tribute album foreverly. After a strong top 40 début chart placement, sales of foreverly have dropped off sharply in subsequent weeks, necessitating Phil’s sacrifice.
Reprise executive Dick Schmoozely likened the arguments to “a playground spat” with both desperate for the honour of dying in order to draw attention to the mediocre product on Warner/Reprise. Don Everly argued that, as the oldest, he should go first while Phil claimed that since he was a lifelong smoker, “it simply made sense” for him to kick the bucket before his older brother.
“Back and forth it went for days,” Schmoozley recollected. “They certainly lived up to their quarrelsome reputation, but frankly, we were getting fed up since this death was supposed to have happened in time to boost Christmas sales [of foreverly].”
In the end, no deal could be reached and Warner Bros. Records chairman Mo Ostin had to flip a coin in the Reprise boardroom. “You should have seen Don’s face when he realised he’d be the one to sit through hours of eulogy for his despised younger brother,” recalled a laughing Ostin. “What a picture!” At this point, Schmoozely reported that Phil turned to his brother, smiled mischievously, said “So long, sucker” and went home to die of complications from lung disease.
However, all is not lost for Don. Rhino/Handmade are set to release a 15 Lp/7 cd Complete Warner Bros. Recordings collection in early 2015 featuring all 13 albums the duo recorded for Warners in the 1960 along with two Lps worth of rarities and outtakes and have expressed interest in the elder Everly dying peacefully in his sleep to help raise consumer awareness of the deluxe box set.