Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1959 Everly Brothers – Poor Jenny

Chet Atkins first heard the Everly Brothers singing in Knoxville in 1956 and convinced them to move to Nashville and sign with Columbia Records. They recorded and released Keep a-Lovin’ Me, a song Don had written. The record failed to chart and Columbia dropped them.

Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose signed the duo to a songwriting contract and had them record for Cadence Records. They recorded the song Bye-Bye Love in 1957, a song that 30 other artists had turned down. That began a streak of hit records. The Everly Brothers scored four number one Country singles that all also reached #1 or #2 on the Hot 100. The brothers wrote their next single (Problems) which reached #2 near the end of 1958.

The duo then stumbled in 1959: their first single in 1959 (Rip It Up) failed to chart at all!

Felice and Boudleaux Bryant wrote most of the early Everly Brothers hits, including both sides of their next single. Their next single came out later in 1959 and turned into a two-sided hit. The A-side was Message To Mary, which peaked at #16 and missed the Country chart. It was a much bigger hit in Australia (where it reached #2).

The other side of the single was Poor Jenny, which reached #22 on the Hot 100 before fading off the chart. They had two more top ten singles before signing with a new record label. They wrote their first single for Warner Brothers, and Cathy’s Clown turned into the biggest hit of their career. Their old record label also continued releasing singles for the next three years. The competition between the two labels gave them lots of records on the charts for the next few years.


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