2013 Country Music Hall of Fame Picks & Prognostications

February 6, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  71 Comments


2012 was a high profile year for Halls of Fame. From the kilted screecher Axl Rose pulling like a Sex Pistol and telling the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to kiss off, to the Baseball Hall of Fame not inducting a single member as the steroid era falls like a shadow on the eligibility timeline. Similarly to baseball’s Hall of Fame, and in polar opposite of its rock & roll counterpart, the Country Music Hall of Fame has kept its legitimacy and honor over the years by being an exclusive get.

country-music-hall-of-fameThe Country Music Hall of Fame inductees are selected through a committee process appointed by the CMA. Since 2010, the selection process has been split up into three categories. 1) Modern Era (eligible for induction 20 years after they first achieve “national prominence”). 2) Veterans Era (eligible for induction 45 years after they first achieve “national prominence”). 3) Non-Performer, Songwriter, and Recording and/or Touring Musician active prior to 1980 (rotates every 3 years). With a musician, Hargus “Pig” Robbins selected in 2012, and songwriter Bobby Braddock selected in 2011, it will be a non performer (ie producer, record executive, journalist, etc.) that will be eligible for induction in 2013.

Since 2001 when there was a whopping 12 inductees, anywhere from 2 to 4 names have been added to country music’s most prestigious list each year. Usually one name from the above mentioned categories makes it per year, but if no name gets enough of a majority vote, a category may not be represented in a given year. Or, if two names get enough votes for a single category, then both may come from that category.

See The Complete Hall of Fame Induction Process

Modern Era Possibilities

Modern era inductees are usually big, high-profile names in the first few years of their eligibility. In 2012 it was Garth Brooks. In 2011 it was Reba McEntire. These are performers who would have risen to prominence between 1968 and 1993.

alan-jacksonAlan Jackson – This is the big name this year that could be inducted in his first year of eligibility like Reba and Garth. Jackson would be a solid pick as a pretty strict traditionalist who experienced lots of commercial success and still remains relevant in country today.

Ricky Skaggs – Along with Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs was one of the names that felt right on the bubble of being inducted last year. Skaggs has bookened his career as a mandolin maestro, studying under Bill Monroe and now firmly ensconcing himself as a country music elder. In between then, he had tremendous commercial success in the 80′s when country was searching for its next superstar. This would be another pick that few could argue with.

kenny-rogersKenny Rogers – He must have been only a few votes from induction last year, and it only seems like a matter of time before The Gambler gets in. The month after the 2012 inductees were named, Rogers was named the Hall of Fame’s “Artist in Residence,” possibly signaling that Kenny was close, but not quite there. Some purists may complain that Kenny started in rock and also helped usher in a more pop-influenced era in country, but you will find few who can argue that eventually Rogers doesn’t belong in The Hall.

Hank Williams Jr. – Could also be considered a veteran candidate depending on where you start your timeline, and another man who will be a hall of famer at some point (with 2 CMA Entertainer of the Year awards under his belt). The question is, is this the year? Last year Jr. seemed like a strong possibility, and then a political brushup that cost him his long-standing gig as the singer for Monday Night Football seemed to sour Hank Jr. sentiment with some. With so many eligible names and so few slots, if there’s any little reason to leave a name out until next year, it’s likely to be passed over. Hank Jr. has become a polarizing figure, and the selection committee may look for someone who can build more consensus.

brooks-and-dunnBrooks & Dunn – Brooks & Dunn was a commercial powerhouse whose career is somewhat shadowed by the success of Garth and their strange place as a non-familial country duo. Their first album Brand New Man sold 6 million copies, and they won the CMA for Vocal Duo of the Year every year between 1992 and 2006, except 2000. They’ll be in eventually, but is the list of names in their field still too strong for this to be the year? Their success is not debatable, but did they have the type of influence it takes to be Hall of Famers this early in their eligibility window?

Toby Keith – Officially eligible because his “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” was released in 1993, but it wasn’t until the 2000′s when Keith really became a dominant force in country music, both commercially and influentially. He’s a long shot, but a possibility.

Other possibilities: Ronnie Milsap (saddled by his “crossover” status), The Judds, Randy Travis (bad news year for him), Clint Black (and his disappearing act for the last few years), Tanya Tucker, The Oak Ridge Boys, Crystal Gayle, and Mickey Gilley.

Veterans Era Possibilities

It is much harder to compile a field of candidates in this category because the time period is so wide, and the possibilities are so endless. So instead of trying to name off every possibility, here are some serious contenders, and some interesting names.

gram-parsonsGram Parsons – The push to put Gram into the Hall of Fame has been going on for years, but with a wet finger sticking up in the air, I think this year may be the one that if he’s not fully inducted, there will at least be enough votes for him through the induction process that he will really have to be looked at in coming years as a serious candidate. Influential country writer Chet Flippo featured Gram’s influence in August. What once looked like a ridiculous notion, now seems like a real possibility, and that is a victory for the Gram Parson camp in itself.

Jerry Lee Lewis – Jerry Lee has received a big push this year, and is a definite possibility for induction. He may be held back some since he came from rock & roll, and his antics on The Grand Ole Opry and other places over the years. But his contributions as one of country music’s preeminent piano players cannot be denied. If Elvis is in the Country Hall (and he is), his old Sun Studio’s buddy can’t be that far behind.

jerry-reedJerry Reed – Such a great ambassador over the years for country music from his work with Smokey & The Bandit to Scooby-Doo, but Jerry Reed should be inducted for his stellar and influential work as both a performer and a musician. There weren’t many better guitar pickers back in the day than Jerry Reed.

Lynn Anderson & Dottie West – Lynn and Dottie are the two ladies that probably lead the field for female veteran inductees. The question with Dottie is if she’s known more as a duet performer. The question with Lynn Anderson is a few DUI arrests over the years. Still, both of these ladies are right on the bubble, and would not be surprising as the 2013 veteran pick.

john-hartfordJohn Hartford – I admit this is a long shot pick, but I believe he deserves induction. As I said in last year’s prognostications, “The Country Music Hall of Fame works like a timeline as you walk through the displays that weave around the massive archive in the center of the building. As you start from the beginning, each artist and their impact is displayed on a plaque that includes their Hall of Fame induction date. When I came to the John Hartford display on my last visit to The Hall this summer, he was the first to have a display, but no Hall of Fame induction date.”

The Maddox Brothers & Rose – The Maddox Brothers & Rose was a name I’m sure was not on anybody’s radar, until this year. With their prominent place at the very beginning of the Hall of Fame’s current Bakersfield Sound exhibit, it is hard not to see how important their influence was on country music, especially West Coast country, and the flashy dress of country performers that still influences the genre today. I agree it is a long shot, but if groups like The Jordanaires and The Sons of the Pioneers are in The Hall, certainly The Maddox Brothers & Rose should be.

johnny-paycheckJohnny Paycheck and David Allan Coe – These names come up every year from hard country fans, and are names regularly held up as evidence of the Hall of Fame’s illegitimacy. The simple truth is that with these two performer’s shady pasts, Hall of Fame induction is going to be difficult. Johnny Paycheck has a more distinct possibility than David Allan Coe, because Coe could create a public relations nightmare for the Hall of Fame from people (correct or not) who label Coe a racist, sexist, etc. etc. Patience mixed with persistence is what Coe and Paycheck fans need to see their heroes inducted, as time heals all wounds. Eventually I think both men should be in, but they may have to wait for a year with a weaker field. Seeing Hank Jr. go in may be the sign the Paycheck and Coe’s time is coming.

Other possibilities: Johnny Horton, Bobby Bare, Jimmy Martin, Ralph Stanley, June Carter Cash, Tompall & The Glaser Brothers, and an endless list of other possibilities.

Non Performer Possibilities

Possibly the hardest category to prognosticate, I would put Fred Foster as a producer candidate, music publisher Bob Beckham as another candidate, and Chet Flippo as a candidate for a music writer. Chet Flippo wrote the introduction to Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger and Wanted: The Outlaws, and was seminal in spreading the influence of country in the 70′s with his writing in The Rolling Stone.

Really, Mike Curb‘s name should be in the discussion. He is the namesake of the conservatory that greets you when you walk into the Hall of Fame. But with his shenanigans the last few years battling both artists and other labels in the courts, Mike Curb may be waiting a lot longer for Hall of Fame induction, if not forever.

Saving Country Music’s Picks

If I had a vote…

Modern Era: Ricky Skaggs

Veterans Era: Gram Parsons, Jerry Reed, John Hartford, Maddox Brothers & Rose, Johnny Paycheck. If I had only one? Give me Gram and we’ll worry about the others next year.

Non Performer: Chet Flippo

71 Comments to “2013 Country Music Hall of Fame Picks & Prognostications”

  • Ah…Hank Cochran? Might want to consider him.

    • Hank Cochran would very likely be put in as a songwriter, and since a songwriter is not eligible this year (see rules above), I really don’t see any scenario where Hank Cochran goes in, or is even considered in 2013. Next year when the 3rd category rotates back to songwriters, Hank would have a much greater chance.

      • I didn’t realize they formally rotated the bunch.

      • If anyone is long overdue for induction, based on the required criteria, it must surely be SLIM. With over 60 years, over 500 songs recorded, over 120,000,000 million albums sold and the holder of the longest Number 1 in the British charts, ( 30 years ). A Country Music ambassador who took Country Music worldwide and regarded by Roy Acuff as perhaps the best Country Music sing of all time.

  • Thats a tough one to choose. I would want any of those names to make it in, but one name I would love to add to modern era would be Mark Chestnut. I don’t think he gets the praise that he needs.

  • “Give me Gram and we’ll worry about the others next year.” — I like that right there.

  • I’ll pick 2 from each catagory & leave out the non preformer since I don’t know enough to make a good judgment there.

    Modern era: Alan Jackson & The Oak Ridge Boys
    I picked Alan Jackson because he’s Alan Jackson. Enough said.
    I picked The Oak Ridge Boys because 1. There great vocals 2. Because of how long they have been around. Most people don’t realise this group started in the 40′s. I know they didn’t become a country group till the late 70′s but as I’ve said before Southern Gospel ain’t far from Country. They have had there songs recorded by Rock artist & they have recorded songs writen by Rock artist. They have had enough members to start there own hall of fame but with the exception of a small period in the late 80′s early 90′s they’ve had the same members for nearly 40 years.

    Vetrain Era: Jerry Reed & Johnny Paycheck
    Like most people I discovered Jerry Reed through Smokey & The Bandit. I new about his comedy songs like When Your Hot, Your Hot & She Got The Goldmine, but it wasn’t till the late 90′s I discovered his early work icluding some great ballads like A Thing Called Love. I don’t think he gets the respect he deserves. He wrote the Elvis hit Guitar Man.
    Personally I’d rather give this spot to David Alan Coe, but I know that will never happen. Johnny Paycheck is a great artist but like Coe has a lot of contraversey follow him. That is something the hall of fame don’t need to worry about though because Paycheck is dead. If they gave it to Coe even I would be worried what he would do.

    • I agree. David Allan Coe could refuse the induction like Axl Rose did, and then how does this look for the Hall of Fame, and the folks who complain that he isn’t in there? Does he deserve it? Of course, but there’s a lot of folks on this list that do and won’t get in this year or next.

      Like Jerry Reed, Johnny Paycheck isn’t given enough credit as a songwriter. Some people think “Take This Job And Shove It” is all that Paycheck had. Paycheck also proved he can behave, and can overcome his personal drama by being made a Grand Ole Opry member in 1997.

      • Trigger: Just wanted to note that your wording of Paycheck as a songwriter might be misleading. David Allan Coe wrote “Take This Job and Shove It,” but Paycheck made it a hit.

  • The case for Gram Parsons cannot be overstated. The Byrds “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” (released in 1968) was so heavily “countrified” because of Gram. It legitimized country music in the minds of those previously snobbish towards it and thus ignited the “countrification” of music by folks like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and the Grateful Dead for examples. Sweetheart might not have sold millions of copies initially but it was being listened to by all the right people. As a result and perhaps most importantly, it allowed country to be “cool”. This brought together those people whose hair was too long and those whose hair was too short and allowed them to coexist under a tent propped up by a love of country music.

  • Alan Jackson 100% no brainer. Jerry Reed for sure. Gram Parsons induction would thrill me to death, my fingers and toes are crossed. Paycheck and DAC someday but bet ya dollars to doughnuts DAC does not get in until after his passing. Dang right the HOF is afraid of what DAC might say or do and they should be. My wish list pick that most likely will never happen would be JerryJeff Walker Viva Terlingua was a gold record and Mr Bojangles is a standard of American song. Doubtful i’ll get my wish.

  • After listening to DAC’s songs I am pretty sure he will not be inducted into any hall of fames, at least not while he is alive. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan but as of lately big mouths do sink ships and DAC really doesn’t give a shit what he says or how he performs. That takes balls. It would be great to see Hank Jr. inducted, after all his father is in the hall of fame. As of Veterans Era I can see Jerry Reed winning that one.

  • If those assholes up in Nashy induct Toby, I just might have to start a revolution. I don’t think anyone can argue against Alan Jackson or Rickey Skaggs. I’ll be surprised if Gram Parsons isn’t inducted. It is too bad that off stage, personal life shit have anything to do with hall induction. Paycheck and Coe deserve the honor if not for their song writing alone.

    • Toby will be inducted. He sold more records in the 2000′s than anybody. The question is, how long will it be held off. My guess it will be another 6-7 years before he really becomes a possibility.

      • I don’t have a problem with Toby being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, though I think Alan Jackson deserves to be inducted first.

        On a different note, do you think Shania Twain will be inducted before the end of this decade? I certainly hope not, because her induction would desecrate one of country music’s most respected traditions and greatly cheapen what it means to be in the Hall of Fame. In my opinion she has done more long term damage to country music than any other singer in my lifetime.

        • Shania is going to be held back for 2 reasons: 1) A lot of artists are saddled with the yoke of being the one that REALLY caused modern country to go in such a pop / commercial direction, but Shania is probably the artist that is most to blame. 2) Though she had an extremely successful career for a short period, she then all of a sudden disappeared, and has mostly stayed disappeared, even though she’s playing a run of shows in Vegas now. You put that up against the careers of some of these artists who never took any time off, and over the long term her accomplishments look paltry. And don’t think that her being Canadian won’t factor in (fair or not). She may get in eventually, but I think it will be a while be for her name is a serious contender.

          • Good points. Rarely has a major mainstream artist accomplished so little for so many years. And there is another factor to consider. After her divorce from Mutt, her fans were rooting for her to make a comeback to show that she could be successful on her own. She appeared in a pathetic reality show with Oprah. Then she released what was supposed to be her “comeback” song, “Today Is Your Day”, which peaked at #36 and then quickly fell off the charts. She’s been talking about writing new songs for several years, yet she still has not released a new album. Perhaps Nashville’s hottie wasn’t wearing any clothes after all. I think she has lost a lot of her credibility as a music artist. Many reasonable observers would conclude that her talent walked out the door with Mutt Lange.

  • You would vote Gram in over Paycheck or Jerry Reed? Bizarre.

    • That’s why I worded it the way I did. I’m not saying that Gram is better or more deserving that Jerry Reed or Paycheck, I’m simply saying that since there seems to be this big push for Gram this year, let’s go ahead and get it done and out of the way so that the other names have a better chance next year. I’m not seeing that same push for Jerry Reed or Paycheck in the chatter out there. The other name you’re seeing is Jerry Lee Lewis. There is a level of pragmatism that you have to approach this business with. You can’t just say, “who’s the best” because that’s such an arbitrary measurement.

  • The voice Vern Gosdin, great singer and songwriter….. Keith Whitley or Gene Watson?

  • The majority of your picks will make it in the Hall of Fame someday. I’m afraid Gram Parsons and David Allan Coe will never see a bronze plague. Personally, I cannot see a Hall of Fame career from either of them.

    There is a list floating around that lists the following as the 2013 nominees:
    Veteran: Hank, Jr., Johnny & Jack, Dottie West, The Browns & Archie Campbell
    Modern: The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers and Alan Jackson.
    Non-Peformer: Buddy Killen, Fred Foster, Joe Galante, Jimmy Bowen and Tony Brown.

    My prediction is that there will be a tie in the Veteran category with Dottie West and The Browns (since they are not famous for having too many posthumous inductions); Modern Category: The Oaks or Milsap; and Non-performer, Buddy Killen.

    • Most of the time after the induction of more Modern artists (i.e. Reba & Garth) they look back to others from a different scope of time. This happened also after the inductions of Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Vince Gill. My prediction is that we will see Ronnie Milsap, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Kenny Rogers inducted all within the next four to five years; then maybe Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, and possibly Toby Keith.

    • Good thoughts. Jimmy Bowen is a name I hadn’t thought of for non-performer that would make a good fit. That’s a good perspective that they may go back further in time this year than Jackson and Brooks & Dunn. I think it’s pretty conclusive they’ll be in, so why not give some names that have been waiting longer a chance.

      • Jimmy Bowen is one of those guys who certainly made his mark in Country Music and along with Buddy Knox put their stamp on Rockabilly Music. There are some who criticize Bowen for moving the music genre from the traditional to the modern and didn’t like the change. The fact is, that Jimmy Bowen was a mover and shaker in Nashville and should be honored for his work that kicked off the modern era. I hope that country music finds a place of honor real soon for Jimmy Bowen !

  • Johnny Paycheck’s story seems like a cliche country tale, not terribly different than Merle Haggards (though Paycheck’s problems continued after his fame). Someone who clearly had demons, sang about them with regret (only hell my mama ever raised, I can’t quit drinking etc.) and apparently reformed himself after prison. Especially since he’s dead for a decade, I think only the most self righteous moralist will hold it against him at this point.

    David Allan Coe’s been arrested in the last year or two, and his misbehavior seems more like that of just an all around crazy guy.

    Paycheck said his problems were largely the products of addiction, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Coe brag that he doesn’t need drugs or alcohol do act crazy.

    Anyway, I don’t know what’s really going around in Coe’s heart/mind, or the full story of Johnny Paycheck; but at least in terms of perception, I think Coe will have a much tougher chance than Paycheck.

  • Judging by who isn’t in I ‘d say this HOF is about as legit as the rock n roll HOF.

  • Judging by who isn’t in I ‘d say this HOF is about as legit as the rock n roll HOF.

  • This is tough but I’d say for modern why not Keith Whitley or Randy Travis. They certainly took on the lefty sound and even though both have drinking problems; what country singer doesn’t. Skaggs might be a stretch because he started out in bluegrass, went to country but sang a lot of bluegrass songs, then back to bluegrass again in 1996. Definitely for the other, I’d pick Jerry Reid, he could pick like nobody’s business and lyrically, he was like nobody else in the country field.

  • Someone whose influence on the formation of “country-rock” is as great if not greater than Gram Parsons’ is Clarence White, the guitarist who played on “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” as well as countless other early country-rock gems. His influence is as vast as it is understated. Check out this 12 part profile of Clarence White over at the Adios Lounge and be amazed.


    If Clarence White is not in the country music hall of fame, then he ought to be.

  • A “Country Music” Hall of Fame without Jerry Reed and David Allan Coe, isn’t a hall of fame.

    • But this is the thing. You can always put those two artists in. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can never take Madonna, Run DMC, Kid & Play, Mister Mister (or whoever the hell they have in there) out, and you can also never reverse the decision to put those people in above bands like Rush and Black Sabbath. That is why as they say, discretion is the better part of valor. Better to have names that should be in there left out, than to illigitimize the institution by throwing the barn doors wide and taking all comers.

      • Very good point, Trigger.

        Jerry Reed is the greatest country-style guitar player of all time (Chet Atkins admitted this), a fantastic performer, plus a damn good singer and songwriter. You also have everything he did for “country” culture with Smokey and the Bandit, Gator, White Lightning, etc. He had an astoundingly well-rounded career.

        DAC is simply one of the five all-time best songwriters of the country genre, plus an outstanding performer and singer…

  • Dwight Yoakam anyone? I’d put him in the modern era before any of those listed.

    Vern Gosdin for Veterans should be considered.

    They have quite a few songwriters that need to be considered when that roles around again.
    Steve Young
    Mickey Newbury
    Hank Cochran

    • For Dwight Yoakam to be seriously considered, I think you would first have to see at least Kenny Rogers and Ricky Skaggs go off the board, and probably Alan Jackson and Ronnie Milsap too. Dwight could help his case as he continues his career.

      And just for the record, and not saying you’re saying this necessarily, but this is not a list of who I would like to see go in, it is the list of the honest, legitimate candidates for the three different categories, especially when it comes to the modern era list.

      • I can see what you’re saying about Dwight, as those other artists have had wider appeal or been a little more front and center, but I think Dwight is just that guy always overlooked. You can argue the biggest stars of the past 30years and when someone brings up Dwight, most folks say “oh, yea, forgot him”, then they will rank him higher than anyone.
        He certainly has brought a style to country music that no one of the modern era has, and he has stayed more consistent with his coolness than George Stait. And, he never seems to be his age. You kind of always think of him as he was 25 years ago. All these other guys are slowing down, singing about how they are on the back end of a career, retiring, etc… Dwight just is good ole’ cool Dwight.

        I do realize this is not who SCM wants in, but I am shocked Dwight is not considered on the list with those on the list. One could say he is the second version of Kris Kristofferson with his song writing ability and his movie interests. I put Dwight way up there…he’s just forgotten about a lot, but pound for pound, the guy can do it all at a high level- traditional, rockabilly, rock country, modern country, take a plain rock song into his style.. anything.

        • The reason Dwight is often overlooked is because he was a West Coast country guy in an era when he was the ONLY West Coast country guy in the mainstream. When The Bakersfield Sound was up and running, there were enough artists and labels there that it had to be respected by journalists and such. There was infrastructure. Capitol Records. The ACM Awards grew out of the desire to support West Coast country. Most of the people on the CMA committee are going to be Nashville folks, or writers from the east coast.

          The thing that I think can really benefit Dwight is to just continue to do his thing. He still has a lot of tread on his tires. At the same time, I think disappearing for almost a decade like he just did probably reduced his chances of getting in right when his eligibility window opened.

      • I’ve read all the comments, and are you folks for real! An artist who plays every instrument on stage; on Ed Sullivan before the Beatles. Top five in 1964 and still tours today. Ten #1s. Four top 100 ablums at the same time on Bilboard. First number one in 1970; last around ’88. Fell 500′ off a mountain on his face and came back to have many top-selling ablums, sold-out shows, three entertainers of the year; had some real messages for folks in the south throughout the 70s and 80s; not just love songs and beer-drinking songs–is not in the Hall of Shame and people on here want to talk about Jerry Reed and Mark Chestnut. Give me a break (sarcasm)!

        HWJR should be put near the top if the honor has anything to do about music and not just about pleasing people with one’s personality and demeanor, but if it is about being likeable and friendly, then we know why HWJR isn’t there yet and probably never will be!

  • Vern “The Voice” Gosdin I cannot beleive I did not think of that. He should be in for sure. Truly one of the top vocalists in country music history. I still think Alan Jackson goes in this year.

  • I’m not sure about Paycheck or Coe. I am a fan of both, but when you talk about a HOF, at least in my mind, it is something for very very elite company. Maybe the country music HOF has already opened the flood gates to minimize that “elite company” but Paycheck and Coe certianly have lives that are unique and add to a mystic, but as far as what they have done for country music, I don’t see them in the same category as other names in the HOF or potential nominees.

    Paycheck and Coe benefited from the “outlaw” image/era they came up through and Merle certainly had a pioneering life story before Paycheck or Coe, so I don’t take anything from Johnny or DAC, but I just don’t see them as HOF.

    I would say the same thing for an artist in the modern era like Toby Keith or Tim McGraw who one day will no doubt be a nominee. They have their moments and relative greatness, but they are considered great for the road others paved, and they just drove down.

  • If Crystal Gayle doesn’t get in my 2020, she’ll be eligible for the veteran catergory.

    • NNOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  • if had my choices
    david allan coe
    gene watson
    keith whitley
    john anderson
    alan jackson
    vern godsin

    • I so agree with your choice of gene Watson – he’s been around for a long time and these artists deserve the credit while they are with us – just to see the expression and love the man has for singing – would be surely shown if he were to receive this award

  • Seldom has anyone on this thread mentioned Randy Travis and no one yet mentioned Steve Earle, both of whom can be credited with rescuing (and rocking up, in Earle’s case) country music in the 1980s. Think about it. “Storms of Life” and “Guitar Town” were two of the most successful and critical high watermarks of ’80s country.

    But yeah. My picks definitely would also include the great Vern “The Voice” Gosdin and Keith Whitley, the Kentucky Bluebird, himself.

  • It is time for Kenny Rogers to be inducted. I can go on and on for days as to why.

    Give this to him while he is still alive.

    There will be time enough for Alan Jackson when the dealing’s done.

    • KENNY ROGERS KENNY ROGERS KENNY ROGERS-unbelievable he’s not already in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • If the picks were mine, I’d absolutely have Alan Jackson as my first choice from the modern era. Album after album of honky-tonk and country, with new and novel ways of doing it within the boundaries of tradition, and the fact that he’s still relevant after over 20 years in the business (Heck, he’s pretty much the ONLY “hat-act” era country artist/band that had staying power that didn’t have “Brooks” in the name somewhere.) make him a shoe-in for a first-time ballot. His ability to turn non-country songs into country (Summertime Blues), as well as the ability to record all-new versions of classic country without being disrespectful (Who’s Cheatin’ Who, Pop-a-Top), is another reason he deserves it. Don’t get me wrong, Ricky Skaggs, The Judds, Brooks and Dunn, and Ronnie Milsap would all be deserving picks in that category, but Alan should be in line ahead of them.

    From the Veterans Era, I’d pick either Jerry Reed or June Carter Cash (who I honestly can’t believe isn’t in already). I hate Johnny Horton’s music (That, John Denver, and The Beach Boys are all my dad listens to, considering the very limited choices of songs to pick from for Mr. Horton, you’d be sick of him too!), but I also feel he belongs in as well, as his music covered a huge variety of topics and styles within country, and is still (at least somewhat) relevant to this day, as evidenced by Dwight Yoakum covering “Honky Tonk Man” decades later, and John Rich’s amazing performance of “The Battle of New Orleans” on The Marty Stuart Show. I love Jerry Reed and June Carter Cash’s music, but I feel just as strongly that Johnny Horton deserves his due.

    In the non-performer category, well, I don’t know enough behind-the-scenes stuff to know who all would deserve it to make any kind of educated decision.

  • Jerry Lee Lewis…in addition to his importance in musical history and his influence on piano playing, he was one of the most prolific country music hit makers of the late sixties and early seventies.

  • Do any of you remember a show called the Festival of Music that toured the country featuring Chet Atkins, Floyd Crammer and Boots Randolph, among others. Chet, Floyd and Boots were all a strong part of the Nashville scene and all contributed to country music. Chet and Floyd are in the Hall of Fame. I hope someday Boots Randolph will be there too! It would be a real shame if he were forgotten.

  • Hank Williams jr… 55 million records sold 5 time entertainer of the year,,, still headlining concert tours in major markets who else can say patsy cline and say kenny chesney are there contemperarys zero baby zero…. its down right embarassing he not in there

  • Why isn’t Jack Clement being considered as Non-Performer. A Country Music HOF w/out Cowboy Jack is a sin. Associated with such acts as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charley Pride, and Waylon Jennings, just to name a few, he HAS to be in sooner rather than later.

  • Three names that come to mind for that nobody has mentioned are Jack Greene, Jim Ed Brown and Wynn Stewart. Also, since the CMA in finally catching by inducting some of ladies. I could see Lynn Anderson or Dottie West, both previously mentioned, going in this year. I will not be happy if either Toby Keith or Shania Twain get inducted because I do not consider either one of those two Country singers.

  • At what point will Wynn Stewart ever be recognized for his great contributions as well as being a founder of the Bakersfield sound?

  • So many country music superstars are long past due for the hall of fame such as Tanya Tucker, Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Dwight Yoakam, Bobby Bare, Ricky Van Shelton and many others who deserve their spot in the country music hall of fame.

  • No mention of Jim Ed Brown?

  • Why is there no mention of Teddy and Doyal The Wilborn Brothers? Maybe two of the most influential men in Nashville during the “classic country” era. Not only their talent, but their booking agency, msnsgement serices and Teddy being recognized a one of the best “song doctors” in Music City.And then one of the most popular syndicated country music TV shows of their time.

  • On the subject of Dottie West…

    It is important to remember that Kenny Rogers himself said that Dottie was greatly responsible for cementing his career with Country Music audiences as she was already a tenured Grammy winning performer of nearly 20 years before they worked together. Even Don Gibson and Jimmy Dean both credited Dottie with reviving their careers with her duet projects with them.

    Dottie was the first female Country Music artist to win a Grammy – and for a song that she wrote, which was later recorded by everyone from Dean Martin to Ray Price. She was nominated 14+ more times over the course of her career.

    Dottie mentored several of the biggest names in Country Music. She discovered Larry Gatlin and Steve Wariner – both of whom became members of her band after she brought them to Nashville. Songwriting legend Red Lane was a longtime member of her band. Lee Greenwood and Vince Gill both credit West for helping to push their careers further along.

    She was a pioneer for women in the business, pushing boundries for women in fashion, lifestyle and song. She proved that a woman could live her life her own way and she reflected that in her music. I dare say that while many other beautiful women (including Dolly Parton) were glamorous, Dottie West was the first to prove that a woman could be sexy and confident. Others followed her lead.

    Dottie loved Country Music and took it to new audiences around the globe. No matter how she changed her look and sound, how she lived her life or where she went, she was always true to the roots of Country Music and its history. It was the air that she breathed and her absolute soul. As Kenny Rogers said, “While many sing words, Dottie sang emotions.” She lived her songs because her life was a Country song: humble beginnings, love found, heartbreak and tragic endings.

    Dottie West most certainly deserves recognition as a SOLO artist – anyone who would suggest otherwise knows very little about her three decade, 50+ album illustrious career which produced more charting singles than many of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    Now…as for Lynn Anderson….the woman has a truly wonderful voice and while I’m not as familiar with her career as I don’t catagorize her in the same league as Dolly, Dottie, Loretta, Kitty, Tammy and Patsy, I will say that I do not believe its fair to overshadow her personal life with her professional life. Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette were pill poppers. Glen Campbell and the rest of Nashville were coke addicts. Willie Nelson smokes pot openly. George Jones and Tennessee Ernie Ford were alcoholics. If we held downfalls and addictions against our legends, then our Hall of Fame would be empty. And that’s a fact. These people are only human. Even their downfalls truly show what Country Music is all about: real life.

  • why not for musicians: boots randolph, pete drake and grady martin; for songwriters: hank cochrand leon payne; for artists: wilma lee and stony cooper, jerry lee lewis, the gatlins

  • I think it is a shame that John Denver, Vern Gosdin,& Keith Whitley have not been elected. Elvis should not be in CMA Hall of Fame he’s Rock & Roll.

  • If Garth Brooks is in the hall, then everybody deserves to be in the hall…

    My picks: 3 for 2013: Bocephus, Kenny Rogers & The Oak Ridge Boys.

  • Marty Stuart is eligible, but it may be a year or two before his name becomes prominent. No one has done more to promote Country Music his whole life, really.

    As I type this, I suddenly feel old… Alison Krauss first gained national prominence in 1991-92…..She’s eligible. It’s just a matter of when…

    Modern: I agree, Jackson & Skaggs are deserving frontrunners.
    Veterans: Boy, it’s a shame June Carter is not in. Her work with her family, comedy work on the Opry & with Homer & Jethro and then the Cash years. Her nurturing of songwriters & artists all combine to what should be a bronze plaque.

    Jerry Reed is deserving.

    Gram Parsons is almost the epicenter of something that happened and the ripples were bigger than he was. If the time is right, as you say, I certainly wouldn’t balk at his entrance.

    Agreed on Hank Cochran when the writers come around.
    What about Tony Brown? Don’t know what the people are counting as qualifications on that category.

  • Ronnie Milsap is a great choice. The first blind singer in mainstream Country Music, The 1977 Hat Trick at the CMA Award Show, 40 #1 Hits, 17 year member of the Grand Ole Opry, Gives back to help children of the blind, and one of the most respected names in Country Music. I hope Ronnie is your choice as well…

  • Gram Parsons? Really? He needs to be so down the list. Dottie West needs to be inducted. She won the first Grammy for a female country singer. She branded with Coke and brought thousands into the country fold. She took country boldly into the country/pop crossover area in the late 70′s and early 80′s. If she is only remembered for duets its because the powers that be have tried to downplay her role due to the lifestyle she led. Dottie lived her liufe the weay she chose to and when she passed she had lived a life well lived. Its sad that 20+ yrs after her passing she cannot be recognized for her career achievements as opposed to a life that didi not fit the mold society thought she should live it.

  • What do you think the odds are of Keith Whitley and John Denvers being elected are?

  • Red Sovines would be an excellent choice

  • While I agree with almost everything you’ve written about Dottie, I – as I’m sure would most country music aficionados – completely disagree about Lynn Anderson not being in the same league as Dottie, Tammy, etc. This lady was as big as a female country star could get during her era (the 70s).

    If you want to get down to it, she was a much more highly awarded artist than, say, Dottie – she had more hit records than, say, Dottie – she had a monster hit unlike that of any female country singer before her (“Rose Garden”). I could go on and on. Pretty much the only thing Dottie has over Lynn Anderson is seniority and the fact that she helped boost the careers of a couple guys (however, the latter is not a criteria for CMHF induction). Dottie started in the early ’60s; Lynn started in the latter part of the decade.

    Everything Dottie did in the late ’70s, when her success with Kenny Rogers put her in the forefront, Lynn Anderson had already done in the early to mid-70s. She was the one who cracked the Tonight Show Circuit for (female) country singers, she was the one Hollywood would usually call when they needed a country act for variety shows, etc. (Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Sonny & Cher, etc.), she was the first (female) country singer to win an American Music Award in 1974 & the first to HEADLINE and sellout Madison Square Garden that same year.

    Lynn Anderson has won CMA, ACM, Grammy, AMA honors and was named “Billboard’s Artist of the DECADE” (1970-80). Other than a Grammy, the only awards Dottie won were for duets with Kenny Rogers.

    Lynn Anderson regularly appeared on shows where country artists were seldom seen, taking it to a much broader audience long before Dottie had her “glamour” phase in the late ’70s. Prior to this period in Dottie’s career, she was only seen on hard core country shows like “Hee Haw” and such.

    I’m no die-hard fan of either, but I do know my country music history. Now, based on seniority, Dottie should go in before Lynn. However, BOTH ladies are surely the next two veteran female artists in line for induction and deservedly so. On a side note, I will say both should have certainly gone in before Connie Smith. I think that induction was proof that politics exist in any & every organization (Marty Stuart).

    In summary, you may want to do some research before you say something as uninformed as Lynn Anderson is not in the same league with Dottie West. Upon researching, you’ll probably be asking yourself – “Hmmmm, was Dottie in the same league with Lynn Anderson?” I am.

    P.S. I totally agree with you, re. personal lives are totally separate of professional achievements. Lynn Anderson has had two DUIs. There are folks in the CMHF who’ve done much worse and still made the cut.

  • P.P.S. My above commentary was in response to JARED VAUGHN’s post. Trigger was spot on with this article.

  • Is Gene Watson ever going to be recognized for the great voice he has blessed country music with for years ?

  • How in the hell can the CM HOF keep overlooking Vern Gosdin’s heartfelt contributions. He literally wrote and sang his whole life’s story. He was influential both as a singer and a songwriter. He, Max Barnes and Hank Cochran all deserve the to be there and none of them are. How shameful. Vern’s songs like “IF YOUR GONNA DO ME WRONG, DO IT RIGHT”, “CHISELED IN STONE”, AND “IS IT RAINING AT YOUR HOUSE” will live on forever; and if there is any justice in this world so should his name as a member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame! Both George Jones and Willie Nelson both agreed that he should be there and, “By God they can’t be wrong”!

  • Charly McClain had over 20 hits in the 80′s and 3 of those were Number 1. (Who’s cheating who, Radio Heart & Paradise Tonight w/ Mickey Giilley) could be more I am not sure, My point is she should be considered. She gave us alot of great music begining in the late 70′s thru the 80′s

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