Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Having Fun, Feeling Numb: The Everly Brothers: "The Price of Love"

The persistence of certain Fifties acts in the Sixties is interesting, mainly because pop music was so young there (I'm guessing) was barely a perception of time passing - I'm not sure when 'oldies' became 'oldies' as such, but then I tend to think of musical time as being quite different from regular time...in that the Everlys here seem to be rocking away as usual, only the context for what they are doing has changed.

Before they'd be onstage by themselves, or with a band, but here there's a near-riot going on, a riot that comes out of a mixture of joy and determination. It is as if - and this is just the feeling I get here - that through partying and having fun something is being avoided, but also there is a real joy in immersing yourself in the music that can't be denied. All this next to a song wherein a man who has lost in love is himself determinedly drinking and dancing with every girl he meets, but it's no good, the cost of his heartbreak cannot be paid that way, no matter how he tries. He's having fun trying, but he always ends up alone, with bittersweet memories and a vague sense that some things can't be solved by throwing yourself into fun. He has to think, but who in this time really wants to do that very much?

And so they are in time with this song they wrote themselves, still popular in the US and becoming even more popular in the UK; the Everlys still have that marmalade sting in their voices and doesn't the song sound...Beatles-influenced? Which would only make sense as they influenced the Beatles in the first place. What goes around comes around, or perhaps doesn't need to go anywhere in the first place...

"The Price of Love" came second to Elvis, another Fifties survivor - however, next we go back to the New, to a group whose importance and fame never quite matched up.

2 comments:

bob stanley said...

The Everlys were pretty much off the US pop map by '65 - Gone Gone Gone was Top 40 in '64 and that was it until the delicious ba-ba-ba Bowling Green in '67. The Price Of Love didn't even make the Hot 100.

I think it's one of the least fun records ever made, an incredibly bitter, nihilistic, depressing, LOUD record too; the melody barely exists, the harmonies, the "tears and pain", are roared out. All of this makes it extremely intense, like the peak moment of an acid house track stretched over 2 minutes. It makes me grit my teeth every time I hear it.

All of this is a good thing.

(I think it was a no.1 in the NME chart).

Lena said...

I just fixed the link (I know, I should check them more often) and the clip is from Shindig! - how odd that it went nowhere when everyone's evidently having a 'great time.' It was indeed #1 in the NME for a week.