Country Music Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Inductees
The Modern Era inductees were The Oak Ridge Boys, the Veterans Era inductees were The Browns, and the Musician inductee was Grady Martin. Grady’s son Joshua accepted the award for his deceased father.
“I’m as nervous as a mosquito in a nudist colony,” said Jim Ed Brown as he took the podium to address the assembled media and dignitaries. All three members of the Browns were in attendance to accept the induction. The formal induction ceremony will be held later this year.
Joe Bonsall was the first to speak for the Oak Ridge Boys, calling it “the most incredible honor that has ever been bestowed upon the Oak Ridge Boys…This is Cooperstown man, this is Canton, this is Cleveland, this is Nashville.”
The entire announcement ceremony can be seen below.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inductees are selected through a committee process appointed by the Country Music Association, or 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). In 2015, a musician was up for the distinction.
2015 Country Music Hall of Fame Picks & Prognostications
The Oak Ridge Boys – Modern Era
An American country and gospel quartet made up of Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, and Richard, Sterban, The Oak Ridge Boys are known for their lasting influence through their four-part harmonies. Beginning as a gospel band in the late 40’s, they became popular in the gospel realm in the 50’s, and remained in the discipline all the way up to the mid 70’s when they made the switch to country music. First known as the Oak Ridge Quartet, the Oak Ridge Boys hold a special place in the hearts of many country music listeners for their invaluable contributions like “Elvira,” and “(I’m Settin’) Fancy Free.” Their unique baritone, bass, tenor, and lead lineup contributed invaluably to the sound of country, and their influence in country and gospel music still lingers today.
The Oak Ridge Boys continue to tour and release music. They are also continue to be active members of the Grand Ole Opry.
The Browns – Veterans Era
A family band consisting of brother Jim Ed Brown, and sisters Maxine and and Bonnie Brown, The Browns were a country and folk trio that rose to prominence in the mid and late 50’s, principally with their Grammy-nominated song “The Three Bells” which became a #1 hit on Billboard’s country and pop charts, and eventually sold over 1 million copies.
Formed in Pine Bluff, Arkansas after Jim Ed and Maxine signed a record deal as a singing duo, The Browns got their big break on Ernest Tubb’s radio show after singing their original song “Looking Back to See.” After the 18-year-old Bonnie graduated high school, she joined the act and they began performing regularly on the Louisiana Hayride and the Ozark Jubilee. As the family band continued to perform and release music, their prominence only grew, eventually making appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand. Some of the trios other hits included “Scarlet Ribbons,” “The Old Lamplighter,” and a version of “Blue Christmas.”
In 1965, Jim Ed Brown signed a solo contract with RCA and began to record and release music outside of The Browns band, including numerous successful hits. This slowly caused the band to dissolve, eventually disbanding officially in 1967. However over the years, The Browns have reunited on many occasions and continue to perform together today. Jim Ed Brown has become a mainstay of the Grand Ole Opry over the last few years, and also DJ’s a radio show. In 2015, he released a new album called In Style Again—his first record in 40 years.
Grady Martin – Musician
Nashville “A-Team” member, and monster country and rockabilly session guitarist, Thomas Grady Martin was a tower of musicianship in Nashville for nearly 50 years. Born in Chapel Hill, TN in 1929, he got his start performing regularly on WLAC in Nashville at the age if 15. He later joined Paul Howard’s Western swing group the Arkansas Cotton Pickers who played on the Grand Ole Opry, where Opry mainstay “Little” Jimmy Dickens saw Grady, and hired him for his band. Soon Grady Marin was a mainstay of country music.
Grady Martin played on “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “El Paso.” He played with Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, and so many others. In the late 70’s, he was the touring lead guitarist in Willie Nelson’s band, appearing in the movie Honeysuckle Rose. Grady Martin was forced to retire in 1994 due to failing health, and he passed away on December 3rd, 2001 in Lewisburg, TN.
Saving Country Music’s Knee Jerk Reaction to the Inductees
Watch the Announcement:
Jim Ed Brown speaking at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Joe Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys
March 25, 2015 @ 9:13 am
I think practically everybody else was more deserving.
March 25, 2015 @ 11:11 am
How do you figure that anyone is more deserving than Grady Martin or the Oak Ridge Boys? (not much knowledge of the Browns so won’t comment there.)
March 25, 2015 @ 11:14 am
Deserving is always subjective but I think a fair argument could be made for many others before the Oak Ridge Boys. Hank Jr, Tanya Tucker, Alan Jackson and Ricky Skaggs all come to mind.
March 25, 2015 @ 11:16 am
A lot of the Oak Ridge Boys’ material was kind of dumb, “oom papa oom papa mow mow.” Their harmonies weren’t particularly complicated, and that isn’t to say that they aren’t deserving, but nowhere near as deserving as Vern Gosdin, for instance. The Browns are deserving, BUT a lot of Jim Ed’s career is bland, thematically unmemorable material, compared to what the Maddox Brothers and Rose were doing.
March 25, 2015 @ 11:51 am
Summing their career up with Elvira is like judging Willie Nelson solely on singing with Toby Keith. You’re willfully ignoring a ton of stuff.
March 25, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
It was their greatest hit, their most memorable song, and in doing a Wikipedia reading, the only song of theirs to get any special attention. they won two single of the year awards with it. It makes perfect sense to willfully ignore a ton of stuff, since that stuff is of lesser importance. Your Willie example doesn’t apply because Willie did had far greater success that “Beer for My Horses” and is remembered for songs like “Blue Eyes” instead.
March 27, 2015 @ 9:31 pm
It’s a Hall of FAME. The Oak Ridge Boys had a ton of country #1 and top-10 hits and were an international superstar act., known for TV and concert performances. Vern Gosdin was a fine vocalist who was basically known only to people who listened to country radio when they played some of his records.
January 2, 2016 @ 10:44 am
I will never respect the CMHOF until they induct Gram Parsons. He is the reason that millions of young kids like me learned about the Louvins, Haggard, George Jones and what real country music was about. I doubt Emmylou Harris would have even found her wings without Gram Parsons. She was a unkown folk singer before she met Gram. He gave her an education on Real Country Music and without him she might still be a waitress outside Washington DC. And maybe never the star she is today. Hickory Wind is one of the most beautiful country songs ever written. Gram you are in my Country Music Hall of Fame forever.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:17 am
March 25, 2015 @ 9:19 am
Well deserved all round. Maybe next year The Maddox Brothers and Rose will be recognised??
March 25, 2015 @ 9:39 am
Let’s face it, next year may be their last opportunity to do it will a living member still around to accept, and even that’s not a guarantee.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:22 am
All certainly deserving, though it’s odd to consider the Oak Ridge Boys “modern”, which reflects the ambiguity of that distinction.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:24 am
I agree. And it also makes the Modern Era super crowded at the very top.
March 25, 2015 @ 2:18 pm
Part of me wonders if that might not be happening on purpose, even if somewhat unconsciously. For one they can start to clear out the backlog of older artists a bit while they’re still living, but looking at the bigger picture we’re about 10-15 years away from people like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan being eligible for induction. Perhaps the voters are looking ahead a bit and seeing that it’s going to be slim pickings for deserving artists that will be newly eligible so then they can use that opportunity to put in more deserving artists from the ’80s and ’90s.
I’m probably reading too much into that, but it makes a lot of sense to me.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:23 am
My knee jerk reactions:
Very happy to see The Browns inducted. It is deserved, and even though arguments can be made other artists or bands may have been more deserving, with health issues plaguing two of the three members, this was the year to do it. There’s so many worthy artists in the Veteran’s category, but this one is hard to argue.
The Oak Ridge Boys were a fairly easy pick, but they could have also been considered a Veteran’s Era pick since the group formed way back in the late 40’s. This is the second year we get a Modern Era inductee who could have very easily been a Veteran inductee after Ronnie Milsap was inducted in the Modern category last year.
Grady Martin was the only name I was able to come up with as a serious consideration for Musician in my predictions, and lo and behold, he walks away with it. Would be great to see some steel guitarists like Don Helms or Ralph Mooney be considered. Most of the HOF musician inductees seem to be lead studio players.
The biggest takeaway is that the Modern Era continues to get crowded at the very top with so many older artists going in. Alan Jackson has to wonder what the hell he has to do, and it also keeps folks like Marty Stuart, Randy Travis, and Keith Whitley multiple steps away from induction.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:34 am
The Veterans Era is entirely overcrowded if I’m not mistaken there are a few names that should have been inducted such as June Carter, Ralph Stanley, and (maybe?) Vern Gosdin.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:38 am
Well, everything is entirely overcrowded because that’s the way The Hall wants it. They want it to be one of the hardest distinctions to receive in music, and they’re doing a good job with that. My only point is they are basically doubling up with older artists when it comes to their three induction slots, and that’s alleviated some of the pressure there. It’s a Hall of Fame, so it goes without saying you’re going to get folks saying, “How in the hell can they not have _____ in there!” Or they could be like the Rock Hall and induct Madonna and Run DMC and make a mockery of the whole thing.
March 25, 2015 @ 1:10 pm
I agree 100% with what you’re saying. But it just seems like anyone in country music with the name “Carter” would be an obvious choice as soon as they’re eligible. It’d be like forgetting to induct a Petty in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:56 am
Huh, and here I just assumed that Ralph Mooney was already in there. They need to get on that one!
“Show ’em the foot that made Merle Haggard a star…”
March 25, 2015 @ 9:28 am
Still no Paycheck…he should have been in right after Waylon Jennings.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:34 am
Except Waylon didn’t even show up for his induction, potentially making the Hall wary of inducting Outlaws.
One good sign for Paycheck, or any older artist is that for the second year in a row, the Hall has picked what could be considered a Veteran artist in the Modern category. This is alleviating some of the backlog for older artists (while making a bigger backlog for younger ones), and hypothetically could move an artist like Paycheck a step closer. The question that really has to be asked with Paycheck is, who is lobbying for him to the right people? That seems to be a big player right now in the Hall’s decision making process.
March 25, 2015 @ 1:15 pm
I like that an ‘outlaw’ didn’t play the HOF game.
HOFs are kinda like other celebrity award shows. You’re famous and (possibly) rich, and maybe culturally significant, yet many of them crave an award to validate their career.
That’s why I’ve always had issues with the Rock n Roll HOF. A genre of music built on rebellion and non-conformity, and then they start wearing tuxes, having lush dinners, giving speeches, and patting themselves on the back.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot… get off my lawn you kids!
March 25, 2015 @ 9:39 am
I agree on Paycheck. His little darlin years alone produced some of the richest honky-tonk of the 60s in my opinion. it perpetually frustrates me that he’s more well known for novelty hits like “only hell my mama ever raised” and “take this job and shove it”. to date, Pandora still doesn’t even list his version of “touch my heart”, even though it was an original composition of his.
March 25, 2015 @ 9:42 am
everyone just forgot about Jukebox Charlie ðŸ˜¡
March 25, 2015 @ 10:27 am
“The Three Bells” is one of the weirdest, most incredible #1 records in history. If you haven’t heard it, I recommend you take a listen on the youtube…
April 26, 2015 @ 6:17 pm
Don’t forget Pop A Top!. Jim did that one solo.
March 25, 2015 @ 10:45 am
It’s worth noting that Kirt Webster handles PR for the Oak Ridge Boys and Jim Ed Brown. Seems that artists need a coordinated push to have a serious chance for induction at this point. Given the overcrowding in the Veteran category, and what looks like the beginning of a backlog in the Modern category, PR efforts are only going to play a bigger role in the future. I understand why this has happened (just do the math, it’s a dog fight). But, I hope we don’t see an overreliance on PR efforts as a metric for determining deserving artists.
That said, all three picks deserve thid honor. Congrats!
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March 25, 2015 @ 11:48 am
A few of the picks over the last couple of years have smacked of behind-the-scenes lobbying campaigns going on. At the same time, I lobby like everyone who I think should be in, so in some ways that’s part of the system. In the end though, it still should be the desire of the committee to put in who they believe most deserves it, not who is the most well-connected.
March 28, 2015 @ 2:40 pm
The Browns have come close to being inducted a couple of times prior to Webster doing PR work for Jim Ed.
March 25, 2015 @ 11:12 am
I’m all for them being exclusive but there interpretations of these categories continues to baffle me. Just as with Milsap last year I would not consider the Oak Ridge Boys modern. There either needs to be a third era designated or they need to just do away with these categories.
And no offense to The Browns and Jim Ed but I don’t want them to get into the habit of rewarding people because they fear they will die if they wait much longer. Either you are or you aren’t worthy and this artificial waiting period they are instituting doesn’t feel right.
March 25, 2015 @ 11:45 am
Both fair points.
The selection committee really is starting to make their own worst case about the Modern/Veteran delineation at this point. They either need to clear up the guidelines, or do away with them. I don’t even have a problem with them saying they are inducting two Veteran acts and not a Modern one in a given year, but it makes the system look questionable.
March 25, 2015 @ 12:05 pm
Yeah something along the lines of:
Veteran: Became prominent pre 1970.
Middle (not sure what to call this category) : Became prominent approx.1970-1985
Modern: Became prominent after 1985. This category could then be used in alternating or every third years to avoid pandering to modern ears.
The other categories could remain the same as they have been.
This way you would still have three person classes at least two out of every three years so it still wouldn’t be like they opening the doors to everybody.
March 25, 2015 @ 12:10 pm
The Oak Ridge Boys (or Oak Ridge Quartet) formed in 1947 and were put in as “Modern.”
The Browns formed in 1955 and were put in as “Veterans.”
In my preview, I included the Oak Ridge Boys as modern, but that’s because I had a sense this is how the committee would look at it with them “rising to prominence” much later. But still…
March 25, 2015 @ 12:20 pm
Milsap had his first top ten in 1973 and the Oak Ridge Boys had there first country top ten in 1977 so if we go by the precedent they have set then they had to be modern I guess.
Plus, I’m no expert on the history of the Oak Ridge Boys but when did the members we know like Duane Allen and Joe Bonsall actually join because I just checked and they were both born in the mid 1940s so was this a revolving membership kind of thing until they hit it big in country music?
March 26, 2015 @ 9:09 am
Current Oaks lineup:
William Lee Golden – 1965 (on hiatus from 1987-1995)
Duane Allen – 1966
Richard Sterban – 1972
Joe Bonsall – 1973
Although the Oak Ridge Quartet/Oak Ridge Boys were a nationally known gospel group starting in the 1950s (and Grand Ole Opry members in the ’40s), I think they probably used the date of the group’s move to country music (1977) as the basis for categorization.
I agree that there’s a currently a bottleneck keeping some very deserving artists out, but I prefer that to opening the floodgates and letting artists in that fall short of the intended criteria as we’ve seen in other hall of fames. And although they may not be my first choices, I think all three of this year’s inductees are appropriate and deserving of enshrinement.
March 27, 2015 @ 9:38 pm
To my mind the Browns are a weak pick. I’d sooner go with a guy like Johnny Horton, who’s music still resonates 50-plus years after it was created.
March 25, 2015 @ 11:38 am
I should probably give up on Gram Parsons getting in as a veteran, but I’m still hoping.
Alan Jackson definitely deserved to be inducted more than the Oak Ridge Boys, but I’ve got nothing in particular against them so it’s not a huge deal. But if Jackson doesn’t get in next year then I’ll start to raise some objections. He was one of the only big stars who seemed like a genuine standard-bearer for the old stuff in the 90s (from my perspective).
March 25, 2015 @ 11:41 am
If there was a “snub,” meaning someone who was expected to get in and didn’t, it would be him. Firsy year, okay. Second year, it seems like there’s must be at least a minor effort to keep him out. Maybe his 1999 “Pop A Top” CMA Awards hijinks?
March 25, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
Eh, it’s a possibility, but it seems a little unlikely that they’re still holding a grudge about it since they honored him for plenty of stuff after that; I think he won a few Entertainer of the Year awards from them in the early Zeroes.
They can surely only keep Alan Jackson out of the Country Music Hall of Fame for so long, though I am interested to see if it lasts for a few more years. That would be pretty certain proof that there’s some kind of effort to keep him out, for whatever reason.
March 28, 2015 @ 6:28 pm
Not until they induct someone who came into the business after Jackson would I say he’s being snubbed. All these people they’ve been inducting–the Oaks, Milsap, Kenny Rogers, etc. came into the business long before Jackson. The only contemporaries of Jackson’s who’ve been inducted are Strait, Reba and Garth and they all started before him.
April 26, 2015 @ 6:21 pm
Maybe someone didn’t like the song he and Strait did. Murder On Music Row. Great and very true song.
March 28, 2015 @ 6:20 pm
I never believed that Jackson’s “went rogue” in that 1999 CMA performance. The telecast milked his Jones tribute for all it was worth, showing the whole ovation that it got from the crowd and letting the clapping be heard. It seemed planned. The CMA wanted all along to give a tribute to Jones but not give time for Jones to sing his whole song. And that’s exactly what they got.
March 25, 2015 @ 12:02 pm
March 25, 2015 @ 1:29 pm
Somehow I knew The Browns would be inducted this year. It just seemed like the right time, especially with Jim Ed in remission from cancer. I think a lot people had a feeling that the CMA voters would be leaning in The Browns’ direction this time. I really enjoyed watching the group’s induction speech and seeing all three together. The trio seemed both deeply appreciative, as well as relieved to be receiving this honor in 2015. Also, Jim Ed looked kinda like a pimp with that hat, gold medallion, and all-black suit. 😉
Personally, I was hoping for Ricky Skaggs in the Modern category. I’m certain he will be inducted sometime in the next few years, but with Randy Travis currently out of commission due to continuing his recovery process, this year seemed like just as good an opportunity as any. Ricky is an inductee I would have gotten genuinely excited about: the man is more than just a living legend, he’s a bonafide master, with roots in traditional country music and bluegrass so deep he has become part of the soil. No disrespect to the Oak Ridge Boys – they’re are a perfectly fine choice. I do enjoy some of their tunes, and obviously they’ve had a big impact. I personally wouldn’t put them in the top echelon of country music’s absolute greatest groups, but I’m not going to complain about their induction.
Grady Martin is also a very solid choice. I would also love to see steel players like Don Helms and Ralph Mooney in the Hall, as Trigger mentioned.
Congratulations to all the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees. Well deserved.
March 25, 2015 @ 1:43 pm
Also, one thing to keep in mind in future years is that in retrospect, the Opry lineup for this weekend was a dead giveaway as to the 2015 HOF inductees. The Browns, including both sisters, are set to perform on Friday night (somewhat of a rarity), and the Oak Ridge Boys are headlining on Saturday night. In fact, take a gander at the lineup for the last performance slot of the night on Saturday:
8:45 – 9:15
Oak Ridge Boys
Jim Ed Brown
March 25, 2015 @ 3:01 pm
Yes, and I think it was announced the Brown sisters will be in attendance. I saw that early this morning on Twitter as a sign they were all in town possibly for the announcement. Turned out to be a smart deduction.
March 25, 2015 @ 3:37 pm
By the way, I listened to the Opry’s 90th Anniversary kickoff show was last night, and it was a hoot, especially the end of the show, when all the artists took turns performing with Asleep at the Wheel.
I think Ketch Secor was in old-timey heaven, blowing Judge Hay’s train whistle and pontificating about Deford Bailey. Ha ha.
March 25, 2015 @ 2:10 pm
I’m still not seeing Billy Joe Shaver on the list of inductees?
March 25, 2015 @ 2:19 pm
I’m in utter disbelief that Alan Jackson did not make it in. Not taking anything away from Oak Ridge Boys, but I feel AJ has made more of an impact on country music in the modern era than Oak Ridge Boys had. AJ never chased trends as many of his peers did, but rather stayed true to country music. He has had a hit country album, hit gospel album, and a hit bluegrass album, and still sells out arenas. He is the closest thing we have to George Jones today. Hopefully he gets in next year, but they will probably induct Kenny Chesney instead.
March 25, 2015 @ 3:12 pm
The Oak Ridge Boys are the only performers to get caught in Boss Hogg’s speed trap TWICE, so they’ve got that going for them.
March 25, 2015 @ 4:50 pm
They are just some good ol’ boys never meaning no harm.
March 25, 2015 @ 3:18 pm
this is better then any stupid tv award show. much better and more deserving performers are being honored and with some drama to boot. there needs to be a seperate female award for each catagory every year too. imo.
March 25, 2015 @ 3:24 pm
I’m 110% with those saying that Alan Jackson got snubbed. Unreal. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the Oak Ridge Boys and they are worthy of the distinction at some point, but to have them in over not just AJ but Hank Williams Jr., Randy Travis and Keith Whitley is baffling to say the least.
March 25, 2015 @ 4:12 pm
I was hoping that Tanya Tucker would get the nod.
March 25, 2015 @ 5:59 pm
Tanya has been eligible for about 20 years now, and still we wait. Seem country music has always had a female problem.
March 25, 2015 @ 7:32 pm
it’s about time that the Oak Ridge Boys are going to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
March 25, 2015 @ 8:18 pm
Jerry Lee Lewis will turn 80 this year and is again snubbed by the CMHoF. I suppose he’s pissed off too many “country” insiders. No June Carter Cash, Keith Whitley, Alan Jackson, Grahmn Parsons, or Townes Van Zandt??? The Hall becomes more of a joke with each passing year. They have no issues with highlighting these artists in the museum, but, God forbid, they be honored in the hall.
April 20, 2015 @ 7:34 pm
I just logged on this page and I am right there with you as Jerry Lee Lewis is my #1 favourite artist of all time and he has been snubbed by the CMHoF for too damn long now as I just wrote and posted a long beautiful but stern message in his defense as ought to be ashamed of themselves!
March 26, 2015 @ 8:05 am
As mentioned by many others in the SCM community, it is atrocious that Alan Jackson is not in the HOF. Not only has carried the torch for real country music his entire career, he has written the majority of his hit songs. He is the most important country artist since George Strait. His last country album failed to get radio’s attention and it was pretty damn good. “So you don’t have to love me” is one the best country ballads I have heard in years. To me, Alan Jackson checks all the boxes. Songwriter, strings of hits over many years, hit albums, album sells, number one hits, sell out shows, ect… I really cannot thing of any other artist who has been more successful that wrote their own songs and remained relevant to radio. And he is a bad ass!
March 26, 2015 @ 9:34 am
Based on what I’m seeing, no Gram (not Graham) will never get in. And look who this is coming from! The List of Supporters will continue indefinitely, as will the events in support (8th annual in Nashville this year, 4th in Toronto, and first, announcing here, Gram Parsons InterNational West 2015 in L.A., a city that I’ve found in the past month gets it so much more than Nashville. Thanks all who are supporting our continuing endeavor.
Gram Parsons Project & Events
March 26, 2015 @ 10:01 am
One of the things I like to do, though admittedly it’s an inexact science, is to try and group up potential inductees together in an attempt to spy trends. I think for certain desired artists to get in, other artists have to tick off the board first. For example I thought Bobby Bare and “Cowboy” Jack’s inductions moved other Outlaw-era artists a little closer. If we had seen Jerry Lee Lewis inducted (and I still think he’s a final ballot artist who is very close), that would have shown a willingness by the committee to induct someone who is considered to have more of a rock and roll past (though the argument can be made this is an unfair assessment of Gram). Right now what I’m seeing in the Veteran’s category is there has to be a direct line of communication to the right people at the CMA for it to become a real possibility. I think this is a symptom of there being such a premium of space for new inductees. Though I’ve always been a proponent of the Hall’s austerity with new inductees, I’m slowly beginning to veer in the direction of thinking we need to clear the log jam just slightly by induction two, maybe three in each era in the future to get us back to a more balanced equilibrium for future one-per-year inductions.
March 26, 2015 @ 10:32 am
Peter Cooper, who now works for the Museum (which rents space to the HOF), among others have suggested a one-time “batch induction.” But even if that happens I don’t see Parsons on their list. Gram is a long shot due to what I believe you accurately describe as an unfair assessment of his place in country music history (by the CMA, not others, his International Submarine Band album is in the Library of Congress representing country music). In 2008 Emmylou Harris was rightly inducted (shortly after I began the push to induct her mentor who remains stigmatized), but so much younger and with so much career to come compared to many other inductees that need to be facing imminent death. Although I heralded that moment, I thought it a bit odd for that reason, perhaps their thinking being that, as she’s obviously going to make it anyway, perhaps now (2008) would assuage this new movement to induct her mentor.
March 26, 2015 @ 10:42 am
Maybe it makes sense to induct the original “Pop a Top” singer before the guy who covered it thirty years later. I love Alan Jackson and expect that he will get in, in the near future, but I also wonder if all the talk about him being snubbed and the press celebrating his 25 years of service strike the committee as signs of a sense of entitlement or trying too hard.
March 26, 2015 @ 1:38 pm
GRAM PARSONS deserves to be inducted right next to EMMYLOU if it wasn’t for Gram we might of never gotten the chance to even knew who EMMYLOU even was……https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200921994880772&set=a.10200921987560589.1073741832.1492511208&type=3&theater
March 26, 2015 @ 1:40 pm
please sign this petition for the late GRAM PARSONS he deserves to be inducted..thanks!….http://gramparsonspetition.com/
March 26, 2015 @ 2:47 pm
I’d like to deficate on Gram Parsons’ grave.
March 27, 2015 @ 6:54 am
March 26, 2015 @ 2:45 pm
I don’t think much about the Hall of Fame anymore. It’s just one more thing in Nashville that pisses me off. It lost credibility when it inducted Elvis and The Everly Brothers, then it became irrelevant when it inducted Garth Brooks. So, at this point, it really doesn’t matter who they put in, because just like radio, anything goes.
March 26, 2015 @ 5:30 pm
This is just my opinion and my opinion only. I think others were more deserving than others. Tanya Tucker, Bobbie Gentry,Dottie West, and even Charly McClain, Tanya has been relevant in the business since she was 13 yrs old. Bobbie Gentry had numerous hits plus wrote and produced a lot of her work, Dottie West because she was relevant up until her untimely death and had numerous hits and Charly McClain…people failed to realize that since 1976, Charly McClain released 15 studio albums and has had 40 hit singles two of those being #1. She has EARNED and DESERVES a seat in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Sadly this “Honor” is a man’s club and women getting their fair recognition will never fully happen. Oak Ridge Boys before Tanya Tucker??? Give me a break
March 28, 2015 @ 2:23 pm
I think there remains some confusion about how Hall of Fame inductions are handled. The CMA is a trade organization established in1957. A few years later, 1961, the first class of inductees was named. The Hall of Fame Museum opened in 1967 and in 1970 or ’71, the CMF — the Country Music Foundation, was established as the educational entity of the organization. I can’t remember the exact year in the 1970s but the CMA and CMF split with each having its own director. The CMF operates the museum and library and continues to house the Hall of Fame in its facility and has rights to the Country Music Hall of Fame name but doesn’t call the shots as to who is or isn’t in the HoF. The director of the CMF has a de facto vote as does the director of the CMA and can submit names for consideration, but the nominating commitee and a small membership (who are supposed to be knowledgeable about country music history) within the CMA vote on the inductees.
With that said, there may be a musician, producer, journalist or other artist on the panel who will champion an individual for induction but that doesn’t guarantee that it is going to happen. The Browns were among the finalists for consideration on more than one occassion. Several highly deserving artists have made the final cut but still induction has yet to materialize for them.
The museum may exhibit artifacts of an individual or build an entire exhibit around a performer, but it doesn’t mean they’re destined to be members of the HoF. The museum’s job is to preserve and disseminate the history of country music — all of it. Cajun, Swing, Bluegrass, Countrypolitan, Country-Rock, etc.
One-time Opry members, The Browns, were a highly successful group in the Fifties up until the girls’ retirement in the mid-1960s. They were among the most successful of the Nashville Sound artists on the RCA roster and had a very respectable crossover career. Their long-term influence isn’t as obvious of someone like Lefty Frizzell, who inspired a lot of singers emulating his style but it is there. Several songs that were early hits for the Browns have entered the mainstream bluegrass repetoire — “Looking Back to See,” “I Take the Chance,” “I Heard the Bluebirds Sing” and many others. Talk to any number of bluegrass musicians and they’ll cite the Browns right up there with the Louvins for inspiration. They were some of the best harmony singers ever to record in Nashville and represent a long-standing tradition of family groups in country music. Fact: The Beatles were known fans of the group.
As for Gram Parsons, who knows what would have happened had he lived a long, prosperous life? Given the CMA’s strict parameters for HoF consideration, I think the brevity of his career could be one of the obstacles preventing his induction. There were other rockers besides Parsons, Ricky Nelson, for one, who helped forge the whole country-rock genre. For the person who gave up on the Hall for the inductions of Presley and the Everlys, go look at the country charts from the 1950s and you’ll find them there. Yes, they were identified as rock ‘n’ rollers, but they had very, very strong Nashville ties, having recorded numerous hits here in town. Ditto with Brenda Lee.
March 30, 2015 @ 1:24 pm
Whether a voting member or not, you seem like someone in the know Anna! And thank you for clarifying the CMF vs. HOF (and CMA I’d add), something I often tire of doing. But if I may, I’d like to differ with you on a few points. First, Gram Parsons was never really a “rock and roller.” Folk music, now often referred to these days as “Americana,” yes. But early on he turned to his country roots when all his Florida buddies were joining r’n’r bands. Parsons was first a foremost a country music artist, albeit at a time when his audience was primarily a rock one. However, his influence in turning an entire generation to the country genre, an audience that was at the time, antithetical to country music, an influence that continues up until the present time, both undermines your argument about a short life span (the Hank Wiliams et al. arguments have been done to death, no pun intended, and also see my essay on the meaning of “lifetime”) as well as the overarching importance of an artist molding and shaping country music by his cross-boundary genius. More on that at links below. Also I’m puzzled by (and perhaps I’m misreading it?) your statement, “For the person who gave up on the Hall for the inductions of Presley and the Everlys…,” as you know Presley was inducted into the CMHOF in 1998 and the Everly Bros in 2001, so not sure what you “gave up” on. If you had anything to do with those inductions, thank you! Btw, 2001 is a great example of the kind of year that we need to return to to “catch up.” Also inducted that year along with a group of 12 artists and bands was a performer at my seventh annual Gram Parsons InterNational last year, Mr. Ray Walker of The Jordanaires. Obviously to me, if you read my further backup at the links provided, Gram Parsons was and continues to be hugely more influential than The Browns, and that’s with a great deal of respect for that seminal band. Thanks for listening.
Gram Parsons for Lifetime Achievement Award? A Look at Web Metrics and the Meaning of “Lifetime”: https://graminternational.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/web-metrics-gram-parsons-for-lifetime-achievement-award/
Nomination Proposal to the CMA to Induct Gram Parsons Into the Country Music Hall of Fame: https://graminternational.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/is-gram-parsons-eligible-for-induction-based-on-cma-criteria/
Gram Parsons ”“ An Underrated Songwriter?: https://graminternational.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/gram-parsons-an-underrated-songwriter/
March 30, 2015 @ 1:53 pm
The Oak Ridge Boys totally deserve this!!!! Congratulations Boys!!!
March 30, 2015 @ 4:13 pm
Re: Will James’ comments: I was referring to a previous poster’s comments about the CMHoF being irrelevant now because of a few inductees cited who appeared not worthy in that writer’s eyes. No problem here with the Everlys or Presley. The mass catch up induction in 2001 was done to conicide with the new Hall downtown. The idea of doing a major mass induction had been championed by some folks for quite some time as was a pioneer category for those who were instrumental in the development of the music as a viable commercial art formin the ’20s and ’30s. The new Hall seemed like the an ideal time to implement that concept.
The HoF committee has always struggled with getting those artists, producers, musicians, etc. inducted in a timely fashion. From time to time, they re-examine the categories and criteria and tweek it as they see fit. I, for one, was thrilled to finally see a category for session players and sidemen. Having them compete with the big-name artists was going to keep a lot of very deserving folks out for decades. The same holds true for songwriters. And then there’s always the problem of putting too many people in and diluting the meaning of the honor a la the Rock ‘n’ Roll HoF
As for the brevity of Williams’ career (not unlike Parsons), I think Hank’s iconic status nearly a decade after his death and the large body of work he created in such a short time made him a no-brainer inductee for the voters at that time, given the parameters. As for Parsons, I probably should have said the perception of Parsons as a late-1960s rock ‘n’ roller — and all that goes with that image — may work against him. I’m well aware of his love for traditional country music. Remember the crap HoFer Ralph Emery said about the Byrds’ Opry appearance? Not pretty but at least we got a good song out it.
Few of the old guard who formed the CMA and ran the show in the first couple of decades are still around, let alone active in the industry. Sadly, with a new generation of shakers and movers running the show and ultimately becoming members of the HoF nominating committee, a lot of folks will likely not see HoF status. II think it is time to revisit the two performers categories because the lines are so blurred and again, some highly deserving artists will not be recognized.
March 30, 2015 @ 4:39 pm
Agreed Anna again well said. Obviously I’m not quite comparing Hank to Parsons, although I’m obviously closer to that than a lot of folks! I have to remind my players at every GPI to check out his entire catalog, which is actually amazing for someone who died so young (Sierra’s box set is one great way), including the International Submarine Band, whose Safe at Home resides in the Library of Congress as an example of iconic country music, and it’s all Gram and the best sidemen in the business back then. Cheers, and if you’re in Nashville the first weekend in November, feel free to stop in to our little get together at Mervin’s Douglas Corner (the other great listening room in town). Or L.A.mid-October or Toronto probably Sept…..
March 30, 2015 @ 8:00 pm
A posthumous category needs to be added. Either annually or on a rotating basics like the songwriter, non-performer and musician. The committee needs to “go back” and look at the careers of such artists as Bradley Kincaid, Cowboy Copas, Jimmy C. Newman, Archie Campbell, The Wilburn Brothers, Dottie West, Stringbean, Johnny & Jack, Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters, Johnny Horton, George Hamilton IV, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Wynn Stewart and even more modern with Vern Gosdin and Keith Whitley. All deceased and all worthy for induction in my opinion. I wonder if this consideration has ever been on the CMA’s rador?
March 30, 2015 @ 8:43 pm
Whether an artist is deceased or not hypothetically does not factor in to whether they are inducted. Just because they are deceased doesn’t lessen the chances no matter what the category. The last two years, deceased individuals have been inducted, and I think that is probably what the committee would point out if a posthumous category was suggested. However there is one rule that states that an artist is ineligible the year after they have passed away. This is to keep the committee from being persuaded to induct someone in the emotional aftermath of a death. So hypothetically, Jimmy C. Newman and George Hamilton IV were not eligible this year.
April 26, 2015 @ 6:29 pm
I agree David. The Wilburn Brothers for instance, multi talented. Plus they brought so many into the spotlight, such as Loretta Lynne who was a regular on their TV show. She traveled with them for a long time.
Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 | Country Music Project
April 6, 2015 @ 7:50 pm
[…] As usual, I am getting my information from Trigger over at Saving Country Music, who shares additional information about who has been honored in the past and how the decisions are […]
April 7, 2015 @ 7:03 pm
I’m happy with this years inductions but I did have my hopes for Tanya Tucker and Jerry Lee Lewis making it.
There’s a backlog for sure and I wonder if people like Steve Wariner, Sawyer Brown, or Mickey Gilley stand a chance. They were very successful, but they were always “quieter” in their presence. I don’t think either are ready yet given the names in front of them but they along with a lot of others will get passed up for less successful but more noticeable names.
Just thought I’d share a list of who I think is in line. (not familiar enough with the eligible candidates for the 3rd category so I’m leaving it out.)
01. Alan Jackson
02. Tanya Tucker
03. Ricky Skaggs
04. Brooks & Dunn
05. The Judds (& Wynonna)
06. Randy Travis
07. Crystal Gayle
08. Martina McBride
09. Kenny Chesney
10. Tim McGraw
I Honestly have about 60 names on my list of eligible candidates who I think will one day make it. And that’s not counting who will become eligible in the upcoming years. (Weird thought that LeAnn Rimes will be eligible next year…)
For the veterans I think these names need to be considered front runners.
01. Jerry Reed
02. Hank Williams Jr.
03. Lynn Anderson
04. June Carter
05. Jerry Lee Lewis
06. Johnny Paycheck
07. Dottie West
08. Skeeter Davis
09. Maddox Bros. & Rose
10. Jack Greene
I have a harder time thinking who will be picked in the veterans because I have no idea how they’d stack up against eachother. For example look at how successful Anne Murray was, she’s one of the most successful females the genre has ever seen with only Tanya Tucker and Lynn Anderson ahead of her in chart success (of those not yet inducted). But her name never comes up in discussion. David Houston is another name almost never mentioned but he had a very successful career too.
Personally I’m happy they keep the inductees small every year but it’s disappointing to think of those who will never get in.
April 20, 2015 @ 7:28 pm
I always think that Jerry Lee Lewis is the top runner for the induction into the Country Music Hall Of Fame as his style comes with the invention of the modern version of Country Music for the last 40 years now which sounds like both genres of Rock and Country have merged, I like it when some genres merge, as he is one of the most musically talented, or should I say gifted musicians on this planet as several or artists have taken up the piano as he inspired them and for whatever mistake he has made in the past, God, everybody makes mistakes because we are all imperfect humans and Jerry Lee is no different, he is human too as he is no more imperfect than the rest of us and besides, he has learned from them and even though he still performs, he is lifestyle is much more laid back now, it is common for people to live a high risk lifestyle when we are young as I’m sure many of you were. Yes, even though I do enjoy many other Country artists including the younger generations, I have nothing against them, but you keep on overlooking Jerry Lee by inducting them first, even though they were not born when Jerry began making the Country charts, therefore you are giving the credit which belongs to the one who invented it, that is Jerry Lee which does not sound fair at all as they have decades of lifetime ahead of them!
Even if Jerry Lee lived a reckless life, in recent years, we have got to learn that the media is misleading as what they tell on Jerry Lee are many, many lies. He is a man of integrity, courage and honesty and has also paid all of his dues and after 40 years me and his fan clubs know that his induction is very long overdue and it is about time that YOU give him his due! Please induct him one and for all time!
Daniel Reed Drown
January 20, 2022 @ 4:00 pm
Had fun reading these older comments. It’s 2022 folks and Tanya Tucker has yet to be inducted. Lets face it: The C.M.H.O.F is a boy’s club. With only 16 female inductees they are becoming laughable. I was glad to see Bobbie Gentry finally inducted into The Nashville Songwriters H.O.F in 2021.Her two self penned immortals are ON EVERYBODIES top 100 country song list. Ode to Billie Joe, with 200 covers, has sold a staggering 50 million records over 5 decades. Fancy is closing in on 30 million thanks in large part to Reba McEntire. Imagine a man who was as successful as Gentry, had 2 #1 certified gold country albums in the 1960’s,( Brenda Lee had none) sold 20 million records and written two giant immortals of the country music genre NOT being inducted. Clearly she was won the most important prize: her music surviving the test of time. in 2018, her box set, Then Girl from Chickasaw County: The Complete Capitol Masters, shocked the industry when it went on to sell 20,000 sets at nearly 100 dollars a piece. A remarkable achievement in this age of digital music A 2019 grammy nomination for Best historical recording followed.. The fact that Bobbie Gentry has sold millions of dollars worth of music for U.M.G( current owners of Capitol Records) without setting foot in a recording studio in four decades is remarkable.