The Everly Brothers - Cathy's Clown - 1960

The Everly Brothers and "Cathy's Clown"

The Everly Brothers, a groundbreaking American rock and roll duo, gained immense popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s. One of their most iconic songs is "Cathy's Clown", released in 1960. This song not only showcased their exceptional harmonizing skills but also marked a significant moment in the history of popular music. Let's dive into the fascinating aspects of this classic hit.

History and Background

  1. The Everly Brothers, composed of brothers Don and Phil Everly, were influential in the rock and roll era, blending elements of country music with rock.
  2. Cathy's Clown was released in 1960 and became a chart-topping hit, known for its unique sound and harmonies.
  3. The song was the first single released by the newly-formed Warner Bros. Records, and its success helped establish the label.

Musical Characteristics

  1. The song features a distinctive 4/4 time signature and an innovative use of a Bolero rhythm.
  2. Harmonically, it blends traditional country music elements with the emerging rock 'n' roll style.
  3. The lyrics of Cathy's Clown are poignant, exploring themes of love and heartache, a common trope in the Everly Brothers' music.

Impact and Legacy

  1. "Cathy's Clown" significantly influenced the sound of future pop and rock music, particularly in vocal harmonization.
  2. It was one of the first songs to reach No.1 on the newly combined Billboard Hot 100 chart.
  3. The Everly Brothers' influence can be seen in later artists, including The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel.


Quiz: Questions on the song

What was unique about "Cathy's Clown" in terms of the record label? (It was the first single released by Warner Bros. Records) (!It was the last single released by Cadence Records) (!It was the first digital single in music history) (!It was released without a record label)

What year was "Cathy's Clown" released? (1960) (!1958) (!1962) (!1965)

What is the time signature of "Cathy's Clown"? (4/4 time signature) (!3/4 time signature) (!2/4 time signature) (!6/8 time signature)

What themes do the lyrics of "Cathy's Clown" explore? (Love and heartache) (!Adventure and travel) (!Political and social issues) (!Science and technology)

How did "Cathy's Clown" influence future music? (By influencing the sound of vocal harmonization in pop and rock music) (!By introducing electronic music elements) (!By pioneering the use of auto-tune) (!By promoting world music influences)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What are the names of The Everly Brothers? (Don and Phil Everly) (!John and Paul Everly) (!George and Ringo Everly) (!Mick and Keith Everly)

In which genre did The Everly Brothers initially gain popularity? (Rock and Roll) (!Jazz) (!Blues) (!Classical Music)

Which of the following elements was a characteristic of The Everly Brothers' music? (Blending country music with rock) (!Using complex electronic instruments) (!Focusing on instrumental solos) (!Creating extended jazz improvisations)

Which other famous duo was influenced by The Everly Brothers? (The Beatles) (!Daft Punk) (!Simon & Garfunkel) (!Outkast)

What was a significant achievement of "Cathy's Clown"? (It reached No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart) (!It won a Grammy Award) (!It was the first song played on the moon) (!It was featured in the first music video)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

In "Cathy's Clown", what is the narrator experiencing? (Heartache from lost love) (!Excitement for a new journey) (!Anger towards a friend) (!Joy from a recent success)

What literary device is predominantly used in "Cathy's Clown"? (Metaphor) (!Onomatopoeia) (!Alliteration) (!Hyperbole)

How does the song's melody complement its lyrics? (By creating a melancholic and reflective mood) (!By being upbeat and energetic) (!By being disjointed and unpredictable) (!By varying between loud and soft dynamics)

What emotional tone is set by the harmony in "Cathy's Clown"? (Sorrowful and longing) (!Cheerful and uplifting) (!Angry and aggressive) (!Indifferent and detached)

What aspect of the song's lyrics was groundbreaking at the time of its release? (The candid expression of vulnerability in a male vocalist) (!The use of futuristic themes) (!The inclusion of political statements) (!The incorporation of multiple languages)


The Everly Brothers Don and Phil Everly
Release Year of "Cathy's Clown" 1960
Record Label for "Cathy's Clown" Warner Bros. Records
Musical Influence of "Cathy's Clown" Vocal Harmonization
Main Theme of the Song Love and Heartache

Open Tasks


  1. Explore Different Versions: Listen to various cover versions of "Cathy's Clown" and discuss how different artists interpret the song.
  2. Create a Playlist: Make a playlist of songs from the early 1960s that share similar themes with "Cathy's Clown".
  3. Write a Review: Write a short review of "Cathy's Clown", focusing on its musical elements and historical significance.


  1. Analyze the Lyrics: Analyze the lyrics of "Cathy's Clown" and discuss the themes and emotions conveyed.
  2. Research the Era: Research the music scene of the early 1960s and how "Cathy's Clown" fit into it.
  3. Compare and Contrast: Compare "Cathy's Clown" with another Everly Brothers song and discuss the similarities and differences.


  1. Songwriting Challenge: Write your own song inspired by "Cathy's Clown", focusing on harmonization and lyrical storytelling.
  2. Historical Impact Essay: Write an essay on the impact of "Cathy's Clown" on the music industry and its influence on future artists.
  3. Music Production Analysis: Analyze the production techniques used in "Cathy's Clown" and how they contributed to its sound.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Influence: Discuss how the Everly Brothers' harmonization style in "Cathy's Clown" influenced future musical acts.
  2. Cultural Impact: Explain the cultural significance of "Cathy's Clown" in the context of the 1960s music scene.
  3. Comparative Analysis: Compare and contrast "Cathy's Clown" with a modern song that has similar themes.
  4. Musical Evolution: Discuss how the elements of country and rock in "Cathy's Clown" reflect the evolution of popular music.
  5. Personal Interpretation: Share your personal interpretation of "Cathy's Clown" and how its lyrics resonate with you.

OERs on the Topic


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