The Upshot: A thorough documentary that’s thoroughly entertaining and informative.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Casting a lasting influence over practically every band at the helm of the ‘60s British Invasion, the Everly Brothers’ earned the distinction of being one of the most important duos to etch an imprint in the entirety of American music. That powerful influence belied their humble beginnings as early architects of a sound based strictly on their backwoods upbringing, nurtured on their family’s radio show and eventually accelerated by a move to Nashville where they gained a source for the songs that would propel them to the top of the charts.
Those humble beginnings and slow but steady rise to stardom unfolds to a remarkable degree in a Blu-Ray and DVD aptly entitled Harmonies From Heaven, a thorough documentary that offers both archival footage and contemporary commentary. As never before it illuminates the brothers’ ascendance to a stature one can only deem as legendary. The footage tracing that upward progression is impressive enough, but a classic concert unearthed from Sydney Australia in 1968 is, in itself, well worth the price of admission. It gives a rare glimpse of the duo after their early heyday but prior to the aforementioned ascendance to the status of rock ‘n’ roll’s elder statesmen. Despite the acrimony and tragedy that would befall them later on, it offers an ample glimpse of the glory that they attained both then and now.
As if there’s any doubt as to why they deserve that recognition, then the testimony given by those under their influence erases any doubt completely. Graham Nash, Keith Richards and Dave Edmunds are among the stars featured through exclusive interviews that recount the ways the brothers left their mark on the adolescent English rockers who aspired to follow in their footsteps. It’s heady stuff indeed, but the obvious emotional attachment these icons had for the Everlys is wholly evident here. If this was a made-for-TV movie, the drama alone would make it an Emmy contender. As it is, the pair’s powerful story enshrines them forever as one of pop’s most prolific pioneers.