The Everly Brothers had been recording and releasing records for three years at this point in their career. Everything they had done to this point was on Cadence Records which was owned by Archie Bleyer. So far, they had been very successful, with three number one songs. But, in 1960, they had a falling out with Bleyer over, what else, money, and decided to switch labels. They went to work for Warner Brothers Records which was a brand new label.
In 1960, Don and Phil wrote “Cathy’s Clown” which was their first number 1 on the Warner label. It eventually sold 8 million copies, which made it the guy’s biggest selling record of their career. It was the first record Warner Brothers released in England. “Cathy’s Clown” was also the last number one of the Everly Brother’s career, although they continued to record and chart until 1967.
After signing with Warner, they started writing songs for their first release, but nothing they did seemed right for the first song on their new label. Don and Phil Everly lived in separate houses in Nashville, with Phil still living with their parents. One day, Phil got an idea for a new song, so he called Don to come over and together they wrote “Cathy’s Clown.” They knew this was the song they should release next.
In 1962, the brothers went into the Marine Reserves to serve for six months, but when they got home, they had lost their momentum and the songs just did not come anymore. They continued to sing together until the famous day of Friday the 13th of July, 1973, when they had a very public breakup and each of them went solo. Pick up Legends of Rock and Roll – The Everly Brothers to read more about that day and subsequent events.
The Beatles based the arrangement for “Please Please Me” upon “Cathy’s Clown.”
“Cathy’s Clown entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on May 2, 1960 and spent five weeks at number one.