In November 1961 — at the height of their fame — the Everly Brothers enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. They reportedly did so to avoid being drafted into the Army, per the Fay Observer. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, they completed 12 weeks of Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. They were then stationed at the Marine Corps’ West Coast base, Camp Pendleton, in San Diego County.
On February 13, 1962, the Everly Brothers completed their basic training. That same day, Don Everly married the actor Venetia Stevenson in the chapel at the Naval Training Center. Phil Everly was his best man, and both brothers wore their Marine uniforms. “No sooner had [they] heard the final bugle call, drum roll and sought-after words, ‘You are now Marines,’ from their commanding officer, Lt. Col. T.A. Stawicki, than they dashed off [to the wedding],” wrote a San Diego Union reporter at the time.
While they were in boot camp in 1962, the Everly Brothers’ top 10 hit “Crying in the Rain” was released, but they were unable to tour to support the song. On February 18, shortly after graduating from boot camp, they performed that song and “Jezebel” on the Ed Sullivan Show while wearing their Marine uniforms. Still, the brothers’ stint in the Marines caused their music career to take a nosedive.