SCM’s Predictions & Picks for 2012 Hall of Fame Inductions

February 6, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Outlaw History  //  55 Comments

One of the reasons the the Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the most revered and respected Halls in all the land and specifically in music is because it is so hard to get into. It is always better that you look at a list of Hall inductees and wonder why certain names are not in, instead of looking and wondering why certain names are. Sure, just like everyone, I could look at the Hall inductees or a year’s specific class and opine how it should be different, but I have 100% faith in the the Country Hall’s process, and their dedication to always looking big picture when it comes to the preservation of the roots and history of country music.

The 2012 inductees will likely be announced in the next month or so. I anticipate this year’s list to be heavily laden with big names, and light on names from the legends era and behind-the-scenes types. Garth Brooks, Kenny Rodgers, and Hank Williams Jr. could all get in this year. The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, and Ronnie Milsap are also strong contenders. June Carter Cash seems to be the only serious name for a legend on people’s lists, and Don Rich, Ralph Mooney, Hank Garland, and Johnny Gimble would be strong candidates for musicians who might make consideration.

Garth Brooks will be in the Hall of Fame. Though a few years ago, this might have driven many purists crazy seeing how he is the poster boy for commercial country, the modern day country landscape is shining a much more favorable light on one of the best selling artists ever, only rivaled by The Beatles and Michael Jackson. The question with Garth is not if, but when. We can wait on Garth’s induction because it’s inevitable, and give someone else a chance this year. However the rekindling of his career in Las Vegas and Reba McEntire’s induction last year I think does move Garth closer to induction.

Hank Williams Jr. is another shoe-in for the Hall eventually, but with his 2011 political side show, voters may side step him this year and hope for calmer publicity waters before making it official.

Ricky Skaggs is a good bet for a 2012 inductee

In many ways, Ricky Skaggs is the best of both worlds. The has the purist and roots vote for his unquestionable support and background in bluegrass, but he also played country music superstar for Music Row in the mid 80’s when there was a massive talent shortage. It is hard to make a case of why Ricky shouldn’t be in, and be in this year.

Kenny Rodgers may have started in rock and may carry mainstream baggage for purist voters, but his role in movies and television along with his huge mainstream country hits made him one the 80’s biggest country ambassadors. Weird face and chicken franchises be damned, I think Kenny makes it in, and this year.

2012 Hall of Fame Inductees Predictions

  • Ricky Skaggs
  • Kenny Rodgers
  • On The Bubble – Garth Brooks, Hank Jr. , Jerry Reed, Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Don Rich

If I had a vote

I do think that both Johnny Paycheck and David Allan Coe deserve to be in, and that it would be nice to see Coe be inducted before he passes. However, both men’s criminal pasts are going to be the long-standing road block against them. Though Coe may be the more recognizable name, I think Paycheck has the better chance as an “Outlaw” based out of Nashville instead of Texas, and how he carried the blue collar banner in country for years.

Another person I think that should be considered seriously is Ralph Mooney. From Buck Owens to Wynn Stewart, from forging the early Merle Haggard sound to touring with Waylon Jennings for 20 years, Ralph Mooney and his lonesome pedal steel guitar sound defined what people think of when they think of country music. He was wildly influential in his discipline. Those first few notes of Merle’s “Mama Tried?” Yeah, that was Ralph Mooney. I know he will not get in this year and maybe not anytime soon. But when the discussion is broached of who should be in The Hall, I believe it is the responsibility of all real country fans to help inject Ralph Mooney into the mix.

Since I believe to keep the Hall pure, no more than 3 inductees should be added in a given year, I’m only allotting myself 3 votes.

Here are my 3 votes:

Gram Parsons – The student in Emmylou Harris was inducted in 2008, now it’s time to induct the master. Simply put, there was never another artist that introduced more people outside the genre to country music than Gram Parsons. He turned The Rolling Stones into country fans. He discovered one of the most important women in country music history. Since Gram died young in 1973, he never got a chance to be prolific, or to settle into his proper place in country music history. But Gram Parsons was way much more than “that guy who played in the Byrds.” His impact is still being felt today. And for all he has done, country music owes him a debt of gratitude.

John Hartford – I understand this is a long shot pick, but as a songwriter, musician, and father of his own sub-genre in newgrass, it is difficult to make the case against him. Let me explain it like this: 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. And then you had to go past many other artist’s displays, into the late 70’s-eartly 80’s before you found other artists given recognition on the great country music timeline without an induction date. John Harford is an indelible piece of country music history, and deserves to be a Hall of Fame inductee.

Jerry Reed – There is and was only one Jerry Reed. With an unmatched energy, style, groove and taste, he took honest to God country music and infused it with a groovy, relevant, and funky style that stole the human heart and sent it racing. An ultimate performer and character, his work from Scooby Doo to Smokey & The Bandit made him one of the 70’s best country ambassadors. But if Jerry goes in, he should go in as a guitar player first. With a wholly unique style matched by impeccable technique, he is as close as country music comes to a guitar god.

55 Comments to “SCM’s Predictions & Picks for 2012 Hall of Fame Inductions”

  • NIce picks triggerman. I myself would vote in Jerry Reed, his body of work and his crossover popularity with smokey & the bandit in the 70s should make that a no brainer. Johnny Paycheck should be a shoe in as well. The man flat out showed George Jones how to sing a damn country song. plus his body of work both as a solo artist and as a side man with George Jones, Skeets McDonald and others should cement that one.
    My third vote, though I’m a fan of Mooney. would go to Bob Moore. The man has played on more country records than god. Not to mention his work in the industry.

    alas, my vote carries no weight.


    • My fear with Johnny Paycheck is that some folks see him as a one hit wonder with “Take This Job & Shove It” and with his “Paycheck” name. They see him as a gimmick even though his body of work is massive, and it’s up to folks who know better to help educate the masses. Hopefully this will translate into the recognition he deserves down the line.

      I think similarly this could hurt Jerry Reed. Many folks only know him through Smokey & The Bandit.

    • you don’t have a clue what your talking about Geoff, Paycheck didn’t teach Jones anything. Someone asked George about this once, and his response was “if anything I think I had an influence on his vocals.” Paycheck was in Jones band in the early 60’s. Jones started singing like Hank and Lefty on his early Starday recordings and Pappy Daly convinced him to develop his on sound, and the rest is history. Paycheck is great, but he is a disciple of Jones. Truth

  • I have to wonder if and how the “PC Police” will factor in to the decision regarding David Allen Coe. His X-rated and racist work would certainly bring some unwanted attention. This may affect the decision on Johnny Paycheck as well since his signature “Take This Job And Shove It” was penned by Coe. Ironically, in this day and age, shooting someone in the head may be less of a factor than racism.

    • The folks that somehow instill blame on the Hall of Fame for not recognizing Coe need to understand the circus that would transpire if they did so, with the NAACP and gay rights organizations protesting on their front lawn, etc. I think his music speaks for itself, but I can’t blame The Hall for keeping him at arms length.

  • Are you gonna contact the authority if your favirotes are not picked?

  • Your point about Gram Parsons certainly rings true for me. His Sin City is the first slow country song that I loved.

    • Love that song….one of the most beautiful country songs ever recorded.

  • i would agree with you in regards to gram. makes no sense if emmylou is already in and gram isn’t. however, there are several circumstances in gram’s death they’ll likely consider if they even know. that’s probably going to be a problem. not for me but them. would be nice if gram got in. then we could work on jerry garcia. at any rate, keith richards says that gram merged the bakersfield sound with the nashville(at the time) sound. pure bliss for my money.

    • Hank Williams died of “questionable” causes as well, and he was the first ever inductee. That may factor in, but I think the stigma that he was a rock n’ roller that dabbled in country is more of what is holding him back. And you’re right about bridging the sounds. There are so many legacies of country music that you can directly attribute to Gram.

      • three inductees that come to mind as ‘rock ‘n’ rollers’, in my opinion, would be: the everly bros, conway twitty, and elvis. i don’t think that’s sufficient reason to keep gram out. i’m going to back off my jerry garcia comment to say that bob wills and spade cooley need to be in there first. just sayin’. yeah, spade had his problems as well.

      • I agree that it seems unlikely that Parsons drug use and death are what keeps him out. Certainly that is true of others, as you say. Perhaps there is some stigma in that he conducted himself as a rich kid dabbling in music, generally. His dabbling brought some important innovations, but I wonder if there is some resentment that he wasn’t a “hard working musician” who paid his dues and developed a body of work.

        • By the way, to make it clear, I think Gram deserves to be there… I don’t see him this way, but think others might.

        • You could have a point there as well, but I think the truth is on his side. Gram started in the Byrds as a salaried keyboard player, and had to fight for his right to be recognized as a full member of the band.

          I think this is where education comes in, and that is all of our responsibilities for the folks that care about this kind of stuff. Will James who commented above, that is what he has been working on for years for Gram.

          • rich man poor man. shouldn’t matter. it’s all about the music. though it’s always nice when a hired hand does well on his own. glen campbell comes to mind. or rocker mick ronson post bowie.

  • Great Article, I learned a lot while reading it ! I totally agree on Gram Parsons….for your 2 other votes….i might need to listen and learn more about them. Your predictions seem to be clever.

  • How about
    Tommy Collins
    Al Dexter
    Stonewall Jackson
    Elton Britt
    Wynn Stewart
    Connie Smith

    • Good list!

      Connie Smith and Stonewall Jackson I think need to be in there. Al Dexter is a good name too, though I hate to admit I wish I knew more about him. I think there is a chance Connie Smith could go in this year. Of all the other possible candidates I’ve seen swirling around, her and June Carter Cash are the only women.

  • who exactly are the voters for country music hall of fame….just curious…is it the board of directors

    • The induction process is handled by the CMA, the same institution that throws the CMA Awards that is made up mostly of radio and industry folks. There is a nominating process for candidates for the year, then the candidates are voted on to become inductees. This is all done in private.

      There are three classes of which committees are made up to decide nominees and winners: The Modern Era, The Veterans Era, and a third for executives, musicians, and non-performers.

      If you really want to geek out, this breaks it down exactly:


  • Vern Gosdin. One of the best ever, woulda been nice to get him in before he passed as well

    • very true. Vern Gosdin one of the best voices in country music history.

  • Folks are tired of hearing from me on this subject; glad to see your (obvious) no. 1 choice. For those nay-sayers, I wrote this Nomination Proposal based on the CMA criteria: http://graminternational.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/is-gram-parsons-eligible-for-induction-based-on-cma-criteria/. Also of relevance on the same site is my blog “Gram Parsons – An Underrated Songwriter?” John Hartford and Jerry Reed are musts as well. Well done as usual Triggerman. Cheers, Will James

  • coe, reed,and paycheck

  • Three words……Jerry Lee Lewis1

    • Jerry Lee Lewis is a very interesting name. I believe him to be the best piano-based performer in the history of country music, but he is obviously better known as a rock n’ roller. I think one of the reasons the Country Music Hall of Fame continues to be revered is because they have been so true to their genre. One of the reasons people laugh at the Rock n’ Roll Hall is because they haven’t. One exception though, is that Elvis is in the Country HOF, inducted in 1998. In my opinion, Jerry has more country cred than Elvis did, as long stretches of Jerry’s career were in country. I guess what I’m trying to say is I think Jerry Lee should be in The Hall, but I am not surprised that he isn’t.

      • What would you actually define pure country as? Because really if you think about it people were mad at the outlaw movement in the 1970s for not being pure enough. So it seems if they wanted to keep country 100% pure they may not have anyone new to elect.

        What about Randy Owens from the for a candidate?

        • I get what you’re saying, but I think you’re taking my point to the extreme. It was not a purist point, it was a point that as someone that started in rock n’ roll, who is universally-recognized as one of the founding fathers of it is always going to be considered a rock musician first, who has a stint in country.

          Again, I think he should be in eventually, but I also understand why he is not.

  • […] Jerry!  Jerry!  Jerry!  […]

  • Connie Smith would be my top choice for the Veteran’s era-I would be happy if Wynn Stewart, Jack Greene or Jim Ed Brown got in. In the Modern era, I would like to see one of the four:Alan Jackson, Ronnie Milsap, Randy Travis or Ricky Skaggs. For the Musician catgory I would like to see Don Rich or Bashful Brother Oswald.

  • DAC, Jerry Reed and Stonewall are my picks.

    Look aside the obvious David Allan issues and what you get is perhaps one of the greatest song writers in country history. And those handful of years in the 70s were REAL outlaw country classics. Long Haired Redneck is still after all these years, the greatest country album Ive ever heard. Spotlight is IMO one of the greatest songs ever written and a true classic of the genre.

    Jerry Reed’s work is also also classic and speaks for itself.

    And I about feel over when I saw that somebody put ‘ol Stonewall Jackson on a list. “Run” is a song that its constantly cranked up in the truck.

    • If David Allan Coe isn’t one of the best songwriters in country history, he certainly is one of the most prolific. I think he should be in, but since I wrote this I’ve been wondering if he cares. He may not, and that’s ones of the reasons we like him.

  • How about the only artist on “Wanted: The Outlaws” who had a gold record at the time? Ms. Jessi Colter

    • That is a vote by one under the charms of the cult of personality of Shooter Jennings.

  • Earl Thomas Conley should certainly be considered eventually. His chart domination during the 80’s can not be overlooked. I completely agree with your picks though. Good article. Thanks!

  • Jimmy Martin should go in before Ricky Skaggs.

    • Jimmy, just like David Allan Coe, has a lot of baggage man. I hate to say it, but that’s why he’s not in yet.

  • and TVZ

  • Bobby Bare anyone?
    brought Country music to the folk crowd in the 60s with his crossover success as well as having hits Europe. Was among the first to successfully record material from left-field songwriters like Shel Silverstein, Kris Kristofferson, Tom T Hall, Billie Joe Shaver and others, pushed Country music forward with some of its first real concept albums as well as being an “outlaw” pioneer in every way.. add a streak of hits that lasted over three decades.. I sure hope he gets to see an induction in his lifetime, but like a Shel Silverstein song he recorded goes: “Nashville is rough on the living, but she really speaks well of the dead”..

    Charlie Rich should also be considered..

    • Bobby Bare is a good one! If there was an Outlaw country music Hall of Fame, he would have to be the first inductee.

  • Oh yeah…..Billy Joe isn’t in….that’s nuts. And Terry Allen should be there too, but probably never will.

  • Mother Maybelle and The Carter Sisters have been overlooked way too long. Such a shame.

    • The Carter Family is in.

      • The ORIGINAL Carter family is in yes; That included A.P., Sara & Maybelle. The trio from the 1920’s and 1930’s. They were inducted in 1971.
        Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters (Helen, June & Anita), the great act of the Grand Ole Opry from th 1950’s & 1960’s are not members. If they were that would make Maybelle only the second act to ever be inducted more than once (the other Roy Rogers in 1988 as a solo act, and in 1980 as a member of the Sons of The Pioneers).

  • Bobby Bare doesn’t seem to get much notice when it comes to the Hall. I think Gene Watson is also deserving of some attention. Connie Smith should go in at some point also.

  • Now this is a conversation I can get in on, as I have a very vocal passion on the subject.

    I agree. The CMHF needs to remain EXCLUSIVE. It is what makes it special.
    But I will say that I believe they could at least stand to induct 2 each year from the Veterans category and 2 as well from the Modern Category. I believe there is still enough deserving artists from the conception of Modern Country Music (1930’s-1960’s) to more Modern times that need to be elected.
    For example Veterans category; (THOSE LIVING): The Browns, Connie Smith, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, Jr., Ray Stevens and Bobby Bare; (DECEASED) Dottie West, Jerry Reed, Bradley Kincaid (never heard of him, check him out on YOU TUBE!), Archie Campbell, The Wilburn Brothers, Stringbean, Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters (June, would be included in this act), Hank Locklin, and Johnnie & Jack. There are a few others as well, but these acts I’m passionate about.

    Yes, Garth Brooks needs to be in the CMHF, but not at this time. Before that historic class of 89 goes in the Hall in that Modern Category I believe at least the following acts need to be considered. Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Gene Watson, Tanya Tucker, Vern Gosdin, The Judds, Crystal Gayle, Anne Murray, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Charlie Daniels and Jerry Clower. Will that happen? properly not. At 1 a year, they are not going to wait another 15 years to induct Garth, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn…etc… My point exactly as to why at least 2 a year need to go in.

    Musician: Johnny Gimble (at age 85) is the most urgent. Bashful Brother Oswald, Don Rich need in as well. As does, Hargus Robbins, Hank Garland, Pete Drake, Don Helms, and many others.

    I’m sure if they were going to have multiple inductees from each category this year, we would have properly already heard about it. So my predictions for 2012 is this:
    Veterans: Connie Smith or The Browns
    Modern: Kenny Rogers or Ronnie Milsap
    Musician: Johnny Gimble or Don Rich

    • For the Record: I do not believe Gram Parsons or David Allan Coe will ever be (or need to be for that matter) in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Personal opinion I guess.

  • My picks for 2012 would be:VETERANS:,Sam & Kirk McGee,Elton Britt,Stanley Brothers,Wilburn Brothers,Hank Williams Jr.,Connie Smith,Tanya Tucker,Dottie West,Hank Locklin,MODERNS,Alan Jackson,Clint Black,Garth Brooks,Randy Travis,Ricky Scaggs,Jerry Reed. MUSICIAN,Don Rich,Brother Oswald.EXECUTIVES,Harry Stone,Harold ”Pappy” Dailey.HISTORIAN,Charles K.Wolfe.

  • Gene Watson or Johnny Bush anyone?

    You know Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins both did MUCH more than just died with Patsy Cline in a plane crash in 1963?!?!?!

    The musicians category is open to people other than guitarists right?
    How about Don Helms, Tommy Jackson, Benny Martin, Paul Warren, Buddy Harman, Shot Jackson??

    They let the legendary Wade Mainer die in Sept 2011 at age 104! when he could have been elected and enjoy it. But then 2011 also saw Wilma Lee Cooper, Doc Williams, Johnny Wright all pass away without seeing their induction as well.

    How about some of the remaining oldies like ‘Oscar’ Sullivan (Lonzo & Oscar), Ralph Stanley, Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith, Mac Wiseman, Homer Bailes (the Bailes Bros.), Freddie Hart, Johnny Gimble, all being inducted before they pass away as well.

  • Glad to see some names that I think are long overdue getting some mention here. Gram Parsons, Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers would be the next three I’d induct in the hall if it were up to me. Yeah, Garth I guess probably needs to be in there someday; history is starting to look a little kinder on him. I would love to see Vern Gosdin, Gene Watson, Randy Travis and Bobby Bare in the hall someday, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon, unfortunately.

  • I think it’s time for Ronnie Milsap. I really think it would be appropriate that he was in before any more of the newer ones. There are several of the legends that should go in.

  • How many #1 songs and top 30 songs on the country charts do you need to get in the country hall of fame? Not to mention he’s a living legend and I icon..THE KILLER!JERRY LEE LEWIS!!!

  • What about Earl Thomas Conley? Such a beautiful voice. He has never got the credit he deserves.

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