Cathy's Clown

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"Cathy's Clown"
Cathy's Clown.jpg
Single by The Everly Brothers
from the album 'A Date with the Everly Brothers'
B-side"Always It's You"
ReleasedApril 1960
FormatVinyl, 7", 45 RPM
RecordedMarch 18, 1960
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Don Everly and Phil Everly
Producer(s)Wesley Rose
The Everly Brothers singles chronology
"Let It Be Me"
"Cathy's Clown"
"When Will I Be Loved"

"Cathy's Clown" is a popular song, written and recorded by The Everly Brothers, in which the singer informs Cathy that "[I] don't want your love anymore."


The musicians included the Everlys on guitars, Floyd Cramer on piano, Floyd Chance on bass and Buddy Harman on drums. The distinctive drum sound was achieved by recording the drums with a tape loop, making it sound as if there were two drummers.[1]


"Cathy's Clown" was The Everly Brothers' first single for Warner Bros., after they had recorded for Archie Bleyer's Cadence label for three years. It sold eight million copies worldwide, spending five weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and one week on the R&B chart.[2] It spent seven weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart in May and June 1960.[3] It was the Everly Brothers' biggest-selling single and their third and final U.S. number 1 hit. Billboard ranked it as the number 3 song of the year for 1960.[4]

In 2004, the song was ranked 149th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In November 2018, a judge ruled that Don was the sole writer of "Cathy's Clown", as Phil had relinquished his rights sometime before June 1980. Acuff-Rose Music, which owned the song publishing, and BMI (the brothers' rights society) removed Phil's name from all the royalty statements. In 2011, Don filed to regain ownership of the song, with the estate of Phil following in 2014.[5]


"Cathy's Clown" was inspired by Ferde Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite.[6] It was a major influence on the Beatles, who — having "once toyed with calling themselves The Foreverly Brothers" — three years later re-created the song's vocal arrangement in their first U.S. single, "Please Please Me".[6][7]

"Cathy's Clown" is mentioned in the opening line of Elliott Smith's song "Waltz 2 (XO)", the title track of his 1998 album XO.[8]

Jan and Dean recorded a cover of "Cathy's Clown" for their album Filet of Soul, but Liberty Records rejected both set lists that included the song. Liberty later selected its own set list, which did not include "Cathy's Clown", and released it shortly after Jan Berry's crash near Deadman's Curve. Jan & Dean's cover of "Cathy's Clown" is available on the "Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings" release.

Chart history[edit]

Chart (1960-61) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles 1
UK Official Singles Chart 1

Reba McEntire cover version[edit]

"Cathy's Clown"
Single by Reba McEntire
from the album Sweet Sixteen
B-side"Walk On"
ReleasedApril 1989
Songwriter(s)Don Everly and Phil Everly
Producer(s)Jimmy Bowen
Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire singles chronology
"New Fool at an Old Game"
"Cathy's Clown"
"'Til Love Comes Again"

"Cathy's Clown" was covered by the country music artist Reba McEntire for her album Sweet Sixteen. In 1989, McEntire's version became her thirteenth number-one single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Unlike the original, McEntire sang the song in the third person, thus making the narrator another woman observing the story.[10]

The video accompanying her version of the song was produced in an Old West setting. Bruce Boxleitner appears in the video as the clown.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[11] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[12] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[13] 11
US Country Songs (Billboard)[14] 15

Other versions[edit]

The song was covered by Bill and Boyd in New Zealand; their version reached number 1 on the Lever Hit Parades chart in that country in July 1960.[15] Another cover, by the English singer Dick Jordon, reached number 5 in New Zealand.[16]


  1. ^ "Recording The Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown" | Steve Hoffman Music Forums". Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 194.
  3. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits. Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives. p. 50. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  4. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1960
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Savage, Mark. "The Everly Brothers: 'That Sibling Sound'". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  7. ^ MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (2nd rev. ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). p. 62. ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
  8. ^ "Elliott Smith "Waltz 2 (XO)" lyrics". Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  9. ^ "The Everly Brothers Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  10. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Sweet Sixteen overview". AllMusic. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 6409." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. July 31, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  12. ^ "Reba McEntire Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  13. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1989". RPM. December 23, 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  14. ^ "Best of 1989: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1989. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  15. ^ "Lever hit parades: 21-Jul-1960". Flavour of New Zealand.
  16. ^ "Lever hit parades: 11-Aug-1960". Flavour of New Zealand.

External links[edit]