CENTRAL CITY, Ky. (1/6/14) — As the world mourns the sudden death of rock legend Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers, no community is more deeply saddened than his beloved Western Kentucky hometown of Central City.
Before selling millions of records around the globe, Don and Phil Everly spent their early years listening to and watching their father, Ike Everly, Muhlenberg native son, Merle Travis, and a host of others. Then they took what they had learned and became rock legends in the late 1950s. By the time the duo took a break in the 1970s, Don and Phil had scored 11 No. 1 hits worldwide including “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Cathy’s Clown”. The duo recorded 75 singles, and won the hearts of millions of fans around the world.
Ironically, at the time of Phil’s death on Jan. 3 in California, local fans were making plans to celebrate what would have been Phil ’s 74rd birthday just two weeks away on Jan. 19.
But the heartbreaking news of the death of the younger half of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo has transformed what was to be a birthday celebration into a city-wide memorial service. The management and staff of the Central City Tourism Commission, which features a museum of Everly Brothers’ memorabilia and rare recordings, is now in the early stages of planning a memorial service for Phil.
Don and Phil Everly’s roots go deep in this quiet town. And, although both lived in various areas of the country over the years, they returned to show their gratitude to their hometown beginning in 1988 with the first of numerous Everly Brothers’ Labor Day Homecoming Music Festivals. Over the years, the festival featured a galaxy of stars including Chet Atkins, Keith Urban, Billy Ray Cyrus and Tammy Wynette. The estimated total number of fans who attended the gatherings over the years have been said to be as high as 200,000. Proceeds from the event went to a scholarship fund set up in honor of the Everly Brothers.
The commission opened the Muhlenberg County Music Museum in September 2010 that showcases the complete album collection of the Everly Brothers, memorabilia and a 1950 Jukebox that plays the Everly Brothers biggest hits. The commission will host the memorial service at the museum located at 208 North First Street in Central City. The Celebration of Life will begin at 2 p.m. Jan. 19.
For more details, contact Carmel Rich of the Central City Tourism and Convention Commission at (270) 754-9603 or on line at www.tourcentralcity.com.
SurfKY News Reporter
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