Iowa History Daily: On October 21, 1957, The Everly Brothers of Shenandoah topped the charts with their hit “Wake Up Little Susie.” The iconic early rock and roll duo of Isaac Donald ‘Don’ and Phillip ‘Phil’ Everly harmonized over steel-string acoustic guitar to go from southern Iowa to success as one of the greatest musical duos of all-time.
Born before their arrival in Iowa, the Everly family first stopped in Waterloo where the brothers attended Longfellow Elementary School. The family moved to Shenandoah in 1944, and stayed for the rest of Don and Phil’s childhood. Ike Everly, a coal miner by trade, also fostered a familiar love of music. In the mid-1940s Ike hosted a radio show on KMA and KNAF-Shenandoah, and the boys first appeared on radio during the show as “"Little Donnie and Baby Boy Phil".
During the late high school years for the boys, the family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and continued to work toward musical success. Although their 1956 debut on Columbia Records flopped and led the label to cut ties, but the duo landed on Acuff-Rose Records. With the recording and release of “Bye Bye Love” in February 1957, the brothers first tasted commercial success as the record rose all the way to #2 on the pop charts.
A year of massive success for the Everly Brothers, “Wake Up Little Susie” found its way to the top of the charts later in 1957. Over a long and influential career, the brothers racked up 35 Billboard Top 100 hit singles and 12 top 40 albums. One of the initial 10 inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the Everly Brothers also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar