Why Paul McCartney Gave a Hit Song to The Everly Brothers

The Everly Brothers’ producer thought Paul McCartney would be willing to give the band a tune for a very specific reason.

Paul McCartney wrote a hit song by The Everly Brothers. The band’s producer was nervous to talk to Paul. Despite this, he thought Paul would be willing to give a tune to The Everly Brothers for a very specific reason.

Paul McCartney gave The Everly Brothers a song 6 weeks after their producer asked for 1

Phil and Don Everly are the two members of The Everly Brothers. A 1986 Rolling Stone article explained why Paul gave them a song. After a long hiatus, The Everly Brothers planned to release a comeback album with producer Dave Edmunds. Edmunds knew Paul was a fan of the duo, so he asked the “Silly Love Songs” singer to give The Everly Brothers a tune.

Don said this was no easy task. “Dave said it was the hardest phone call he ever made, because McCartney is always being asked for something,” he revealed. “Paul said if he could come up with anything, he’d give a call. Dave forgot about it, but about six weeks later, the phone rang, and it was McCartney. He said, ‘I think I’ve got one.’” The tune was called “On the Wings of a Nightingale.”

Although they worked with Paul McCartney, The Everly Brothers resented the 1960s

While The Everly Brothers recorded one of Paul’s songs, they didn’t like The Beatles’ signature decade: the 1960s. “When Phil and I started out, everyone hated rock ‘n’ roll,” Don said. “Then along came the ’60s, and everyone suddenly got real young, and if you were over 30, they didn’t trust you.” Notably, The Everly Brothers had a few hits in the early 1960s before falling into obscurity.

Phil went more in-depth about his feelings about the 1960s. “The ’60s weren’t my cup of tea,” he said. “I never bought that philosophy that, you know, we’re all brothers and that’ll solve everything. And I never believed that music dictated the times. I always thought it reflected them. We were against the grain in that period, and there was a lot of confusion about our direction. Maybe we were just losing the freshness of it all, losing interest.”

How The Everly Brothers’ ‘On the Wings of a Nightingale’ performed on the charts

“On the Wings of a Nightingale” was a modest hit in the United States. The tune reached No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 12 weeks. “On the Wings of a Nightingale” appeared on the album EB 84. That record reached No. 38 on the Billboard 200 and lasted on the chart for 17 weeks. Though The Everly Brothers had several hits, EB 84 was their only record to reach the top 40 on the Billboard 200.

According to The Official Charts Company, “On the Wings of a Nightingale” peaked at No. 41 in the United Kingdom. That track spent a total of 11 weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, EB 84 never charted in the U.K.

“On the Wings of a Nightingale” wasn’t a huge hit, but it’ll forever remain a collaboration between a few of the most important rockers of all time.

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