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Temptation - the Everly Brothers

The temptation has always been to dismiss the Everly Brothers as a pair of harmonising post folk crooners because nowadays the songs they are most remembered for are their relatively softer numbers like "Bye Bye Love", "Crying in the Rain" and "All I have to do is Dream". People often wonder why they are praised as being pioneers of rock and roll - well hopefully "Temptation" will go some way to answering why. From their first successes in 1957 onwards they were considered to be pretty sexy (the forbidden territory of a young couples' illicit night together in "Wake Up Little Susie" set the tone for that), and their harmonies on uptempo numbers such as "Cathy's Clown" were definitely considered "hot".

The song "Temptation" was originally sung by Bing Crosby in the 1933 film "Going Hollywood"; his character sings it to a girl he meets in a dance hall in Tijuana. It's extraordinary how different eras can present the same lyrics and tune in totally different ways:

Bing in 1933 is passionate but, although the woman is giving him pretty suggestive looks, he is far too much of a gentleman to ever get more than an inch this side of politeness. The Everly Brothers version opens with a Latinesque drum beat that in itself packs more sensuality than the whole Crosby oeuvre altogether, before the brothers enter with a yey yey yey yeah that is an exultation in the temptation on offer. And they don't offer much resistance as the vocals and answering guitar licks amply testify:

"You are temptation and I am yours here is my heart, take it and say we'll never part I'm just a slave only a slave to you, temptation."

After all, rock and roll isn't only a style of music, it's a state of mind.

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