By Richie Unterberger

In the mid-1960s, the Everly Brothers were exploring various paths as their sound continued to evolve, though unfortunately this didn't bring them much commercial success in the United States. In Britain it was a somewhat different story, as they landed two big hit singles in 1965, "Love Is Strange" and "The Price of Love," the latter of which got all the way up to #2 in the UK charts. "The Price of Love" was also included on their April 1966 album In Our Image, whose diversity indicated that the Everlys at this point actually couldn't settle on any one image, trying their hands at several different styles.

    In keeping with the way things often worked at the time, In Our Image was not comprised of entirely (or even mostly) new material, with nine of the twelve tracks having already appeared on singles in the year prior to the LP's release. Foremost among these was Don and Phil Everly's "The Price of Love," which reflected their absorption of some trends in both the British Invasion and American soul with its heavy beat, swaggering harmonica, and ringing guitars. Oddly this comeback effort, so successful in Britain, stiffed in their own backyard, struggling up to just #104 in the US charts. Also included on the album was its almost equally worthy flipside, "It Only Costs a Dime" (also penned by Don and Phil), where the harmonies really soar on the chorus.

    The duo also wrote the follow-up single, and retained the harmonica, for the waltz-timed "I'll Never Get Over You." Again it found more success across the water than at home, though it wasn't nearly as big as "The Price of Love," peaking at #35 in Britain. Concluding an unusually active year in which they issued more than half a dozen singles, Don Everly's lovely, somber ballad "It's All Over" appeared in December, the brothers continuing to push into new areas with baroque keyboards in an almost pseudo-classical arrangement. It was also an unusual vocal arrangement by the pair's standards, as in contrast to the way they usually worked, Phil took the principal part and the solo in the bridge, with Don singing a lower harmony. The song would be a Top Ten hit in the UK, but not, alas, for the Everlys, with Cliff Richard taking it to #9 in 1967. More typical of the Everly Brothers sound was its flipside, the solid midtempo rocker "I Used to Love You," penned by Sonny Curtis. One-time Cricket Curtis, of course, had given the Everlys one of their biggest hits in the early '60s with "Walk Right Back." Yet his greatest success in 1966 would not be with the Everly Brothers, but with the Bobby Fuller Four, who took Sonny's "I Fought the Law" into the Top Ten that year.

    Although the Everlys had written much of the material on their 1965 singles, for their first 45 in 1966, they opted to look toward the Brill Building for Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's "Glitter and Gold." Mann and Weil were then one of the hottest songwriting teams in the business, counting the Animals' "We Gotta Get out of This Place" and the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" (the latter penned with Phil Spector) among their recent triumphs. "Glitter and Gold" is a good example of how the Everly Brothers were often able to comfortably adapt to the sound of mid-1960s rock without submerging their trademark harmonies, the song boasting a dense, confident production with fuzz guitar and harpsichord. Despite the song's quality, there'd be no glitter and gold for the single in the marketplace, as it joined a long list of sadly underrated, unheralded 1960s Everlys flops.

    Far less adventurous was the B-side, "Lovey Kravezit," with its flatulent horns and lurching near-martial drums. Rather surprisingly, this too came from the Brill Building stable, in this case from the team of Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller. Covering Brill Building writers was nothing new for the Everly Brothers, from the time they made "Crying in the Rain" a Top Ten hit in 1961, as that classic was penned by Greenfield with Carole King. The duo had also previously recorded some of Jack Keller's material; Keller, with King's then-husband and usual songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, had been responsible for their 1962 singles "How Can I Meet Her?," "No One Can Make My Sunshine Smile," and "Don't Ask Me to Be Friends."

    "Glitter and Gold" had hardly even had time to test the waters before the Everlys came out with another single, "(You Got) The Power of Love" (not to be confused with the similarly titled "The Price of Love"), whose pulsating opening bass line seems to indicate that someone had been doing some heavy listening to Motown. Also on the single was "Leave My Girl Alone," which took more of its cues from the British Invasion and folk-rock; it's easy to imagine the tune finding a place on a Hollies or Searchers record, though of course as those bands were heavily influenced by the Everly Brothers, it's hardly a matter of mere imitation.

    So In Our Image was, in essence, a collection of 1965-66 singles, none of which had made any headway in America. (The superior '65 single "Love Is Strange"/"Man with Money" was not included, incidentally, possibly because both sides had already been issued as part of the Everlys' previous LP, Beat & Soul.) Three more tracks filled out the album to the then-standard twelve-song length. The ballad "(Why Am I) Chained to a Memory" was perhaps the most mainstream and country-oriented of the songs on In Our Image, while Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller again came to bat with "The Doll House Is Empty." Country songwriter Marge Barton was responsible for "June Is As Cold As September," though in the hands of the Everlys, it became a pop-folk-rocker. Barton's greatest notoriety in the rock world, however, would come a bit later in 1966 with "Doll House," an excellent folk-rocker by the obscure (but also excellent) Kansas folk-rock band the Blue Things; that single was stopped in its tracks after a Time magazine article on controversial lyrics noted that the song was about a house of prostitution.

    For their next album, Two Yanks in England (also reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music), the Everly Brothers would record a set of material in London as a unified proper album, with great assistance from fans the Hollies (who supplied most of the songs). In Our Image, however, served its purpose as a valuable document of mid-'60s Everlys efforts that, like so much of their Warners catalog, failed to get the hearing they deserved. -- Richie Unterberger

contents copyright Richie Unterberger , 2000-2010
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