(CNN) -- Singer Phil Everly -- one half of the groundbreaking, smooth-sounding, record-setting duo, the Everly Brothers -- has died, a hospital spokeswoman said. He was 74.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Phil Everly and his brother, Don, ranked among the elite in the music world by virtue of their pitch-perfect harmonies and emotive lyrics. Rolling Stone labeled the Everly Brothers "the most important vocal duo in rock," having influenced the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and many other acts. Along the way, they notched 35 Top 100 songs -- more than any other vocal pair.
The Everly Brothers' sound -- with Don's lower register generally ringing in perfect thirds with Phil's higher voice -- was the backbone of dozens of hits. The two began as songwriters before signing a deal in 1957 with Cadence Records. They became international sensations over the next five years with tunes such as "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Susie," "When Will I Be Loved" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream." In terms of record sales, their chief rivals during this stretch were Elvis Presley and Pat Boone.
Their style -- a product of their blend of rock 'n' roll with Appalachian folk, bluegrass and other genres more closely aligned to their Kentucky roots -- helped them earn inductions in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. (more)