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Everly Brothers Home

Welcome to Shenandoah, IA, Childhood Home of the rock ’n roll pioneers the Everly Brothers. From humble beginnings in Shenandoah the Everly Brothers rose to world fame. It began with the influence of their father Ike Everly, a coal miner from Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Ike would play music after work with his brothers and a local guitarist, Arnold Schultz who helped Ike master a unique and pioneering thumb-picking guitar style. Ike latter taught Merl Travis this style. Ike and his wife Margaret had their first son Isaac Donald Everly on February 1, 1937 in Brownie, Kentucky. Ike became a full-time musician and by the time Don was age two they moved to Chicago where Ike performed on radio. On January 19, 1939 Phillip Everly was born.

In 1945 the family moved to Waterloo, then Shenandoah, Iowa to accept a job offer at KMA radio station to perform live. Ike instilled in his sons his love for music, from country and western to blues. He encouraged the boys to sing and taught them to play guitar. At the ages of 8 and 6, sons Don and Phil began to perform on their parents live radio shows on KMA and KFNF. At KMA the brothers were introduced to listeners as “Little Donnie and “Baby Boy Phil”. Mother Margaret would read the commercials and often join Ike and the boys in four-part harmonies. By 1950 the radio show was known as “The Everly Family Show”.

The brothers would sing on the radio early in the morning before school. Which gave the brothers their first exposure to the music industry. On weekends the family sang together and traveled in the area as the Everly Family. They stayed in Shenandoah until early high school.

National and world tours, the 1st million dollar record deal with Warner brothers and many television appearances followed including the Ed Sullivan Show and their own television shows. In 1973 the pair split until 1983 when they reunited as a singing duo at the Royal Albert Hall in England.

In 1986 The Everly Brothers were among the first ten artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year July 5th they returned to their boyhood home in Shenandoah and played to a crowd of 8,500 in a home coming concert at the Depot with parade, street dedication, and class reunion.

Concert fees were donated to the Everly Family Scholarship Fund which gives scholarships to middle and high school students in Shenandoah each year. In 2006 their childhood home was removed from its original site on 6th Ave. and continues to be restored. 2010 Shenfest dedicated the present location downtown, 800 W. Sheridan Avenue. Concerts are held at the house and other historic locations in Shenandoah each year at Shenfest, the 4th Saturday in September, to honor and remember the Everly Brothers and keep the music alive. To help with restoration send contributions to Greater Shenandoah Foundation at the chamber address.

The family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in September 1953, and transitioned into a duo act at the mentorship of Chet Atkins. Atkins engineered a chance for the Everly Brothers to record for Columbia Records in early 1956. This was their 1st and only single for the label “Keep A’ Lovin’ Me”. Atkins introduced them to Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose music publishers. They signed as Acuff-Rose song writers in 1956. By early 1957 they also signed with Cadence Records. A string of hits followed: “Bye Bye Love”, “Wake Up Little Susie”, “All I have to do is Dream”, “Claudette”, “Bird Dog”, “Cathy’s Clown”, “Walk Right Back”, “Ebony Eyes”, “When Will I Be Loved”, “Crying in the Rain”, “That’s Old Fashioned”.

Read the entire history of the Everly Brothers here.