1960 – Cathy’s Clown by The Everly Brothers at No 1 on the US Singles Chart

On the 23rd of May 1960, The Everly Brothers started a five-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Cathy’s Clown’. The song also spent seven weeks at No.1 in the UK. “Cathy’s Clown” was written by the brothers themselves. It became the Everly Brothers’ biggest hit single and their third and final US chart topper, selling eight million copies worldwide.

The Everly Brothers were an American rock duo well-known for their close harmony singing and steel-string acoustic guitar skills. Isaac Donald “Don” Everly and Phillip “Phil” Everly, fused elements of rock & roll, country, and pop. They became the pioneers of country rock.

The brothers grew up in a musical family, initially performing on radio in Iowa as “The Everly Family” with their father Ike Everly and mother Margaret Everly in the 1940s. Very soon, they caught the attention of the famous guitarist Chet Atkins, who helped them get international recognition.

In purely commercial terms, according to the Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum Nashville, the Everly Brothers were one of the most successful acts in popular music, between 1957 and 1962:

“Only Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, and possibly Rick Nelson outsold them. In a sense, though, Don and Phil Everly were more important to Nashville: the first consistently successful rock & roll act to come from Music City. As the first commercially successful rock & roll act to come from Nashville, the Everly Brothers extended Nashville’s sense of what was commercially possible. But their roots and much of their sound was embedded in country music. In artistic terms, the Everly Brothers took the country brother duet a step beyond their predecessors. They added Bo Diddley riffs, teenage anxieties, and sharkskin suits, but—for all that—the core of their sound remained country brother harmony. That link was underscored on their 1958 album of traditional folk and country compositions, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.

The Everly Brothers began recording and writing their own music in 1956. Their first hit song “Bye Bye Love,” written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, became their first hit single in 1957. The song peaked at number one in the spring of 1957. Bryants wrote many of the following songs, including “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” and “Problems.” In 1960, they signed with Warner Bros. Records and recorded Cathy’s Clown, which was written by the brothers and became their best-selling single.

Cover photo: The Everly Brothers – Phil and Don Everly, via Getty Images