Bill and Sue-On Hillman's Virtual Tour of
Central City, Kentucky


Visit our Tribute Pages at:

Phil Everly’s Hometown Holds a
Celebration of Life Memorial Service

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, held a Celebration of Life 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 hosted a Celebration of Life memorial service on 
Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at the museum located in Central City. 
For more details, contact Carmel Rich 
of the Central City Tourism and Convention Commission at 
(270) 754-9603 or on line at
Visit our Phil Everly Tribute Pages at:
Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductees and Muhlenberg County natives, Don and Phil Everly, began their climb to pop music immortality in the small town of Brownie, Kentucky. As children of mid-western country stars Ike and Margaret Everly, they were exposed to music in a big way and appeared frequently on their parents' 1940s radio show.

In 1955, the teenage Phil and Don left for Nashville and landed a song writing gig with Roy Acuff's publishing company.  One of Don's songs, "Thou Shalt Not Steal," became a minor hit for Kitty Wells. 

The brothers recorded a one-off country single, "Keep A Lovin' Me" b/w "The Sun Keeps Shining," for Columbia Records in 1956, then signed with Cadence a little more than a year later. With the release of "Bye Bye Love" in the fall of 1957, the Everly Brothers  were on their way to becoming the reigning kings of pop music. The song became an international smash and established an Everly's style of close country harmonies over a rock beat.

Over the next years, the Everly Brothers produced a hit record every three months, often topping the pop, country and R&B charts simultaneously. They established themselves as the premier purveyors of a unique rock 'n' roll, country, blues and gospel blend with songs like "(Til) I Kissed You," "When Will I Be Loved," "All I  have To Do Is Dream," and "Wake Up Little Susie," which sold over two million copies. In 1960,  they signed with Warner Brothers Records and recorded their biggest single ever, "Cathy's Clown," also selling over two million copies in the U.S. alone. During that incredible period of hit-making, the Everlys sold millions upon millions of records worldwide and influenced the sound of popular music for all time.

Throughout their long performing career, the Everly Brothers ranked as a consistent touring group, habitually selling out halls across the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Europe and Australia. The duo were among the first ten inductees voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and Tom Petty presented the duo with their very own star on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame" in 2004.  In addition, the pair were cast in stone in their hometown of Central City when a monument of the legendary duo was commissioned in honour of the Everly Brothers First Annual Central City, Kentucky, Music Festival. Following these memorable events, Central City honoured the duo with the creation of The Everly Brothers Museum. We have created this virtual tour to give fans a small sampling of the treasures displayed in this Museum.

. .

1. Road to the Everly Brothers Museum
Photos and notes: Sue-On's Travel Journal

2. The Tour Begins

3. Showcase Displays

4. Everly Homecoming

5. Muhlenberg County 

6. Awards ~ Tributes ~ Friends

7. Collectibles

8. Photos

9. Store Room with
Don's First MG

 10. Final Walk-Around and
Chat Before Departure
. .
1. Arrival
2. Tour Begins
3. Showcases
4. Homecoming
5. Locals
6. Tributes
7. Collectibles
8. Photos
9. Storeroom
10. Departure



Photos by Bill and Sue-On Hillman©