On This Day in 1960: The Everly Brothers’ Harmonious Career Highlight “Cathy’s Clown” Became a No. 1 Hit

On May 23, 1960, The Everly Brothers’ classic song “Cathy’s Clown” became the sibling duo’s third and final No. 1 hit on the U.S. singles chart. While most of Don and Phil Everly’s previous hits were written by the wife-and-husband songwriting team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, “Cathy’s Clown” was an original tune penned by Don.

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The song bumped Elvis Presley’s “Stuck on You” from the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. It then spent five weeks at No. 1. “Cathy’s Clown” also was topped the U.K. chart for seven weeks and the Billboard R&B tally for one week.

[RELATED: The Classic Ballad The Everly Brothers Never Released as a Single That Turned Into a Hit for Nazareth, “Love Hurts”]

“Cathy’s Clown” was inspired by Don Everly’s experience with an ex-girlfriend. The tune is sung from the point-of-view of a guy who’s been dumped and is trying to keep up a brave front, although he’s been publicly humiliated by his ex.

Don was credited with arranging the track. His arrangement was influenced by conductor Andre Kostelanetz’s version Ferde Grofé’s orchestral composition Grand Canyon Suite.

The song became The Everly Brothers’ biggest-selling single. It also was the first single the duo released on the Warner Bros. label. They originally spent the first three years of their career on Cadence Records.

“Cathy’s Clown” appeared on A Date with the Everly Brothers, which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200.

The Everly Brothers’ Previous No. 1 Hits

The Everlys’ scored their first chart-topping hit in 1957 with “Wake Up Little Susie,” which was written the Bryants. Their second came in 1958 with “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” which was written solely by Boudleaux.

“Cathy’s Clown” Influenced a Beatles Hit

Don and Phil Everly were a big influence on The Beatles, and their harmonies on “Cathy’s Clown” specifically inspired the vocals on the Fab Four’s “Please Please Me.”

John Lennon later recorded a solo demo featuring his version of “Cathy’s Clown.”

Reba McEntire’s Version and Library of Congress Honor

In 1989, Reba McEntire recorded a version of “Cathy’s Clown” with some lyrical adjustments, and scored a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

The Library of Congress named “Cathy’s Clown” to its National Recording Registry in 2013.

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