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New City Pocket Park a Unique Tribute to Knoxville's Own Everly Brothers 

Ribbon Cutting at Everly Bros Park

On the opening day of a new Knoxville park, Mayor Madeline Rogero welcomed more than 150 people who had gathered.

It’s likely many of them were unaware of the park’s uniqueness before the ceremony.

“Welcome to the grand opening of the only commemorative park in the United States to honor rock-and-roll duo Don and Phil Everly!"

Amid brief, heavy spring showers on June 17, an enthusiastic crowd of families, officials and business leaders attended the ribbon-cutting of the new Everly Brothers Park in Bearden. And just in time for the start of the ceremony, the sun came out.

Ribbon Cutting at Everly Bros Park

“Knoxville is proud to be the city that nurtured the Everly Brothers, and this pocket park is now a great addition to the Bearden neighborhood and to Knoxville,” the Mayor said. 

"All the community efforts that have made it possible remind me of a great Everly Brothers hit 'All I Have to do is Dream.' This is what has happened here with so many coming together to make this park happen.” 

The new City pocket park is a reality because of the many wonderful organizations who had a passion to honor the Everly Brothers: Rotary Club of Bearden, Bearden Village Council, Legacy Parks Foundation, Visit Knoxville, East Tennessee Community Design Center and Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Ribbon Cutting at Everly Bros Park

Don and Phil Everly attended West High School in Knoxville, living here with their family in the 1950s in a boarding house on Scenic Drive and then in a rental home in Marble City near Sutherland Avenue. 

At school, the brothers sported twin ducktail hairdos – a look that helped them stand out. 

Their love of music came early, and it was here in Knoxville that the brothers began performing as a duo. In 1953, they were appearing on the Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour radio show on WROL-AM. It was a coming-of-age time for them and their music. 

They also discovered teen music hangouts like Dougout Doug’s, the cool local record store on Cumberland Avenue.

“It’s where they discovered rock ’n’ roll,” said Terry Faulkner, Co-chair of the Everly Brothers Park Project and part of the Bearden Village Council.

And even more happened for them in Knoxville while in high school. The big moment came when they met former Knoxvillian Chet Atkins. Atkins, known as “Mr. Guitar,” elevated the country music style that came to be known as the Nashville Sound.

By helping to shape the Nashville Sound, Atkins strengthened the city’s position as a recording center and helped establish its fame as Music City. The legendary artist received 14 Grammy awards and became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Atkins became so impressed with the Everly Brothers’ unique harmonies that by 1955 he was offering to help them with their recording career.

Their road to success was swift. In just a few years, the Everly Brothers were acclaimed artists.

By 1957, their “Bye, Bye, Love” was an international hit. By 1960, they signed a 10-year contract with Warner Bros. Records, and by 1962, the duo had earned nearly $35 million in record sales. 

The Everly Brothers’ country and rock-and-roll contributions to music are enduring. Their style has influenced a whole generation of famous artists including the Beatles, Art Garfunkel, the Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Graham Nash (who is also Honorary Chair for the Everly Brothers Park Project), and many more.

The Everly Brothers joined an elite group of musicians, having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Vocal Groups Hall of Fame. 

In 2014, Phil Everly died, and Don Everly, now 82, lives in the Nashville area.

“Knoxvillians understand the place that music and history have in the life of a vibrant city,” said Rogero. “It’s part of who we are. 

“We will always find ways to foster creative genius and highlight Knoxville’s own, and that is exactly what the stage in this new park is for.” 

Knoxville is a flourishing music destination where residents and tourists travel to hear new, local talent and nationally known artists. Faulkner says the Bearden community is delighted that Knoxville has had a part in the lives of the Everly Brothers and their careers – coming full circle with the creation of this special park.

And more is coming.

Duane Grieve, former City Council member and Co-chair of the Everly Brothers Park Project, says some additional amenities are coming for the new park. 

“Keep watching the news,” says Grieve. “More is planned in the coming year for this special park. We’ll have even more of a little stage area for musicians to come and jam.”

“Pocket Parks like this present a physical environment in which local musicians can perform and thrive,” said Faulkner. 

Click here to enjoy our photo gallery of the Everly Brothers Park ribbon-cutting.

Posted by mleidig On 08 July, 2019 at 1:42 PM