KNOXVILLE (press release)—Bearden has a new pocket park named for the legendary Everly Brothers, who lived in the area as teenagers. The Bearden Council, which represents local neighborhoods and businesses, is planning a fundraising campaign to add landscaping, educational and biographical information.
The small park is at the corner of Kingston Pike and Forest Park Boulevard. The land was acquired by the State of Tennessee as part of the reconstruction of the adjacent bridge across a rail line. The Department of Transportation has given the city a renewable lease to use the property as a park. There will be a dedication ceremony at the park at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7.
The Bearden Council is leading efforts to raise funds to complete the landscaping and features of Everly Brothers Park, including benches, bicycle racks, an artistic centerpiece and memorial plaques.
The Everly Brothers grew up playing music with their parents, Ike and Margaret, and the family moved to Knoxville in 1953. They became regulars on Cas Walker’s radio program on WROL and both brothers enrolled in West High School. It was in Knoxville that they met Chet Atkins, who encouraged their nascent songwriting efforts and told them to look him up if they got to Nashville. After Don graduated from West High in 1955, the family moved to Middle Tennessee so the brothers could pursue their musical career. Two years later, they had their first pop smash with “Bye Bye Love.”
The Everly Brothers went on to sell more than 40 million records, with 35 Billboard Top 100 singles and 12 Top Ten hits. Their vocal harmonies influenced generations of rock and country performers. They were particularly revered by the Beatles and one of the few acts to be inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.