"Phil Everly was one of my great heroes," the former Beatle wrote. "With his brother Don, they were one of the major influences on the Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don."
Biographer Mark Lewisohn, in his new book "Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, Vol. 1," quotes McCartney's reaction upon hearing the Everlys sing "All I Have to Do Is Dream" in 1958, when he, John Lennon and newly recruited guitarist George Harrison were still teenagers: "When we first heard it, it blew us away."
"Years later when I finally met Phil," McCartney said, "I was completely starstruck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul."
Shortly after the Everlys reunited in 1983 with a celebrated concert at Royal Albert Hall in London, McCartney wrote the song "On the Wings of a Nightingale" for his boyhood heroes, and it became the lead-off track and hit single from their "EB '84," their first studio album in more than a decade.
McCartney's statement concluded: "I will always love him for giving me some of the sweetest musical memories of my life."
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