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On this day in music history: May 23, 1960 - “Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on June 13, 1960. Written by Don Everly and Phil Everly, it is the third and final US chart topper for the pioneering rock & roll duo from Brownie, KY. After a string of successful and memorable hits for Archie Bleyer’s Cadence Records, they are signed by Warner Bros. Records to a long term contract worth over $1 million (an unprecedented sum at the time). Phil comes up with the initial idea for “Cathy’s Clown” after they record other eight songs, with none of which is deemed suitable for their first release. Don helps his brother finish off the tune before going into RCA Victor Studio A in Nashville, TN to record it. Released in April of 1960, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #94 on April 18, 1960, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. “Cathy’s Clown” is a big hit internationally also, topping the UK singles chart for seven weeks in May and June of 1960. The Everlys have a successful string of hits on Warner Bros through 1962. In late 1961, The Everly Brothers enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves, to avoid being drafted into the Army for active duty.  The duos hit streak is also hindered when they have a falling out with Welsey Rose, the head of the powerful Nashville music publisher Acuff-Rose Music, whom Phil and Don’s own songs are also published by. This ends up cutting the brothers off from many of the songwriters that have written their past hits. As a result, The Everlys are only able to score one more US top 40 hit single over the next four and a half years. “Cathy’s Clown” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.


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