He Ain’t Heavy …

The tumultuous relationships between pairs of brothers in the rock ‘n’ roll world can be rather infamous. This is a discussion of a few examples.

Don & Phil Everly

The Everly Brothers, Don & Phil

The Everly Brothers, Don & Phil

The Everly Brothers once said their final performance would be on July 14, 1973, at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. Tensions surfaced and Don went so far as to tell a reporter he was tired of being an Everly Brother. Phil smashed his guitar and walked off during the show, allegedly disgruntled with Don’s performance due to drunkeness, thereby ending their collaboration. A collaboration that began not long before their first recording session in 1956. Apparently, with the exception of their father’s funeral in 1975, they did not speak to each other for almost a decade. After Phil’s death Don admitted that he had lived “a very difficult life” with his brother and that he and Phil had become estranged once again in later years.

Tom and John Fogerty

Creedence Clearwater Revival featuring Tom & John Fogerty

Creedence Clearwater Revival
featuring Tom & John Fogerty

Tom and John Fogerty’s band The Golliwogs first signed to Fantasy Records in 1964 before changing their name to Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1968. During the few years of the life of CCR, Tom sang backing vocals and wrote songs, but only one of his songs (“Walking on the Water”) was recorded. In the pre-CCR era Tom had been singer, songwriter and manager so he left left the band in 1971 due to bitterness at having his contributions overlooked along with the long-standing animosity toward his brother. After leaving the band, Fogerty began performing and recording as a solo artist. His relationship with his brother John remained strained right up until the time of his death in 1990.

Chris and Rich Robinson

Rich & Chris Robinson

Rich & Chris Robinson

In 1989, Mr. Crowe’s Garden changed their name to The Black Crowes and released their debut album, Shake Your Money Maker. In early 2002, it was announced that the Black Crowes would be taking a break. This was allegedly because the brothers needed a break – from each other. In early 2005, it was announced that The Black Crowes would be reuniting for a run at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom which quickly turned into a full-fledged tour. In 2010, the band announced an August 3 release date for the double, all acoustic album Croweology, as well as tour dates for the “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys” tour. After the tour, the band went on another “indefinite” hiatus. Although it wasn’t discussed publicly speculation was rife that there had been another disagreement between the two brothers. On December 25, 2012, it was announced that The Black Crowes had ended their hiatus and embarked on another tour. As recently as January 2015, Rich Robinson announced the third breakup of the band, due to a disagreement with brother Chris Robinson over an alleged proposal regarding ownership of the band.

Jeremy & Peter Oxley

Jeremy & Peter Oxley rehearsing

Jeremy & Peter Oxley rehearsing

Sunnyboys were founded by the Oxley brothers in 1979. The band dissolved in 1984 following internal dissent, industry disappointments and Jeremy Oxley’s health issues. It was later revealed that Oxley suffers from schizophrenia. In late 1987, Jeremy Oxley attempted to revive Sunnyboys with a new line-up. The new band signed a deal with RCA and released an album entitled Wildcat. This incarnation of the band broke up in 1990. In November 1998 the band reformed for the Mushroom 25 Concert at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mushroom Records, organised by Michael Gudinski. On 22 April 2012 the original line-up of the band played as part of the Dig It Up concert series organised by the Hoodoo Gurus, at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia. The band undertook a national headline tour in March 2014. The dust-ups between the Oxley brothers have been legendary including actual fisticuffs on more than one occasion.

Ray and Dave Davies

Ray & Dave Davies

Ray & Dave Davies

The Kinks were formed in 1963. As a member of the Kinks, Dave Davies has only released his own compositions on B-sides and as part of albums as his brother Ray’s contributions dominated all The Kinks’ releases. Dave made several attempts at solo albums throughout the ’70s, but he never felt enough enthusiasm or interest to see the projects through. The Kinks eventually disbanded in 1996. Despite numerous requests for a reunion tour by various promoters the brothers continually resist due to their inability to get on with one another.

Noel & Liam Gallagher

Noel & Liam Gallagher

Noel & Liam Gallagher

Oasis were formed in 1991 and the rocky relationship between the two brothers is well known. Noel departed Oasis in 2009 and formed Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, while Liam continued with the former members of Oasis under the Beady Eye name until they disbanded in 2014. If ever there was a case providing proof that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts than these guys are it.

You have to wonder in all these cases did the fraternal friction inspire or hinder their creativity?


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