Okay, this one is hands down one of the most sad songs in the history of music. The vocals and the lyrics, both deliver equally hard punches to your heart, and the next thing you know, you’re probably in tears by the end of the song. “Ebony Eyes” is undoubtedly my (personally) best song of the 60’s. It’s short, sad and a must listen for hopeless romantics. Okay, now that I’ve warned you, keep some tissues in hand, and read on!
History: “Ebony Eyes” is a song written by the American songwriter John D. Loudermilk, and recorded by the The Everly Brothers (Isaac Donald Everly & Philip Everly). It was released somewhere in the midst of January 1961. There isn’t much I could scoop up from the internet, but maybe telling you that it reached Number 8 on the U.S. charts and Number 1 on the U.K. charts would suffice (I have a strong suspicion it must have gone on to win many more awards though). BBC initially prohibited this song from airing on the radio quoting that the song was “utterly disturbing” to hear on the radio.
What it tries to convey: This one’s a piece of cake. The song revolves around the Point Of View of a soldier who is just hours away from “Whispering ‘I do'” to the love of his life, who happens to be coming to him via flight No. 1203. Unfortunately, the turbulent weather and the black skies caused a dramatic plane crash, in which he loses his beloved fiancee. The color of the dark clouds somehow causes him to remember the ‘Ebony’ colored eyes his fiancee had. Now, the incident, when searched on the internet, did not render any useful results as such; and hence I doubt the truthfulness of the incident.
Review: The song starts with a smooth duo opening (kind of resembles a choir), which meets the acoustic guitar at 00:05, and the vocals start right after that. Now the thing that I really like about The Everly Brothers is that they both have completely different vocal styles, yet they don’t try to mask the slightly hoarse one. Instead, they sing as naturally as they can and bring out the best in the song. A similar case is the ever-famous Simon & Garfunkel duo (no introductions needed). During the “My Ebony Eyes Was Coming To Me” part (00:36), one of them (the one with the softer voice) drops back to the background and gives the song a little vocal support. They meet up again shortly, and then the ‘mid-song speech’ (sorry, I couldn’t come up with a technical word) begins at approximately 01:09. The way in which he delivers the speech is enough to tell you that the song will not end well, yet the smoothness and feelings it conveys is enough to keep you hooked. The speech, in a jiffy, describes how the man walks inside to the Airlines desk and asks the manager for a reason for Flight No. 1203 being so late. After being shrugged off, he comes outside and looks up at the ‘Ebony’ colored skies and knows there’s something wrong. The loudspeaker announcement confirms his worst fears, when all the relatives and friends of people on Flight No. 1203 are called to the chapel across the street. It’s really heartbreaking, but you’ll survive it. The real test of strength, however, is in the last stanza. It ALWAYS brings tears to my eyes. In the last stanza, he imagines himself up in Heaven, and meeting his ‘Ebony Eyes’ in the form of an angel. Just read the stanza, you’ll know why I’m stressing on it. The best catchphrase of the entire song: “And I knew the Heavenly Ebony skies, had taken my life’s most wonderful prize, my beautiful Ebony Eyes” (sniff). The song eventually ends at 03:02, leaving you in tears (of happiness, for the man’s optimism, and sadness for the suffering he encounters after the terrible incident). A winner all the way!
Lyrics For “Ebony Eyes”: http://artists.letssingit.com/everly-brothers-lyrics-ebony-eyes-kn7vdqc
Download Link For “Ebony Eyes”: http://www.greensville.net/StorageLocker/Music/_Oldies/Everly%20Brothers/The%20Very%20Best%20Of/Ebony%20Eyes.mp3 (Right Click on Link, Click “Save Link/Target As”)