With the recent deaths of some of country music’s oldest living legends and links to its past such as Don Maddox of Maddox Brothers and Rose at the age of 98, and Sue Thompson at 96, it seems like a suitable time to ask, who are some of the oldest legends of country music still living?
With the recent loss of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, country superstar Merle Haggard, songwriting great Freddy Powers, and Bakersfield’s Red Simpson, the amount of artists who are still around that can truly say they were there at the very start of the formation of country and bluegrass is getting anemically slim.
It’s about that time of year again to start considering who the Country Music Hall of Fame will include in their list of 2015 inductees. That said, this announcement seems to inch later, and later (and later) each year. Nonetheless, if you want your opinion to amount to anything, you better get it out there early in the year as the people who make the picks for the final ballots and eventually inductees are doing their homework.
Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Country Music Hall of Fame, David Allan Coe, Don Kelley, Dwight Yoakam, Grady Martin, Gram Parsons, Hank Williams Jr., Jerry Lee Lewis, Jerry Reed, Jesse McReynolds, John Hartford, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Kenney Vaughan, Kenny Chesney, Mac McAnally, Mac Wiseman, Pete Drake, Ralph Mooney, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Redd Volkaert, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap, Sam Bush, The Maddox Brothers & Rose, The Oak Ridge Boys
With the passing of the 94-year-old “Little” Jimmy Dickens at the beginning of 2015, it’s a reminder for us to cherish the final living links to country music’s most legendary past who can still tell stories of how country music once was. The amount of performers who were important in forming the very foundation of country music are quickly fading away.
Bill Monroe, Billie Jean Horton, Bobby Osborne, Buck Owens, Buck White, Carter Stanley, Don Maddox, Eddie Arnold, Elvis, George Jones, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Harold Bradley, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jesse McReynolds, Jim and Jesse, Jim Ed Brown, Joe Pennington, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Lee Ann Womack, Lefty Frizell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Maddox Brothers & Rose, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, Owen Bradley, Pee Wee King, Ralph Stanley, Ray Price, Red Simpson, Ricky Skaggs, Rose Maddox, Roy Acuff, Roy Orbison, Stonewall Jackson, Studio 'A', The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Grand Ole Opry, The Quonset Hut, The Stanley Brothers, The Whites, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Out of the 67 current members of the Opry, only 25 of them fulfilled their 10 appearance obligation, and three of those died during the year. 11 members didn’t make any appearances at all. But what may be more interesting is who is appearing on the Opry to take up the slack. Of the Top 11 performing members at the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, the average age was 79-years-old.
Bill Anderson, Blake Shelton, Bobby Osborne, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Carrie Underwood, Chris Jansen, Connie Smith, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Elizabeth Cook, George Hamilton IV, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, John Conley, Little Big Town, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lorrie Morgan, Mike Snider, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Riders In The Sky, Sarah Darling, The Grand Ole Opry, The Henningsens, The Whites, Vince Gill, WSM