One of the most successful and influential duos in country music history can now claim the distinction of being Country Music Hall of Famers. Naomi and Wynonna—the mother and daughter combination known collectively as The Judds—have just been named the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the Modern Era category.
The announcement came Monday morning (8-16) in a press conference held by the CMA in Nashville. Ray Charles was also announced as the Veterans Era inductee (READ MORE), and musicians Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake were announced as musician inductee, after voting for the two ended up in a tie.
The resume of The Judds is unquestionable for the Hall of Fame, even if their commercial career was brief. Though they’ve reunited for recordings and reunion shows many times subsequently, they were only active for eight years full time between 1983 and 1991. However, during that time the two red heads from Ashland, Kentucky amassed 14 No. 1 hits, 25 total charting singles, seven consecutive Top Vocal Duo awards from the ACMs between 1984 and 1990, six consecutive vocal duo or group awards from the CMAs between 1985 and 1991, two other CMA Awards including Single of the Year for “Why Not Me” and the 1984 Horizon Award (Best New Artist), and five Grammy Awards.
Two of The Judds records have gone 2X Platinum, four others have gone Platinum, and four more Gold. This was the type of success that helped define 80’s country through the music of The Judds. One of their 2X Platinum albums was their debut on RCA/Curb, Why Not Me issued in 1984. The duo signed the deal after struggling for years to get noticed. From there it was off to the races, with nearly a decade of unparalleled success in the duo space until Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1991, and ceased touring full-time.
Personal differences and creative conflicts had also began to creep into the Judds project, but the duo would still occasionally record and tour throughout the years, and would be synonymous with country music into the 90’s. Wynonna also started a successful solo career, and still tours and records today. The Judds were both popular and traditional, with songs like “Why Not Me” and “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good ‘Ol Days)” making fans both young and old. The Judds primary run ended just as the “Class of ’89” with Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Travis Tritt was taking shape, giving them a good exit as opposed to trying to chase trends with country’s new crop of superstars.
In a very humor-filled and chippy acceptance speech via livestream (including where Wynonna chided her mom for all the name-dropping she did), the two recollected on the honor, and their careers. “As a daughter, 20 years it’s about damn time,” said Wynonna. “That’s what everyone has said including relatives. As an artist, it’s wonderful to be included in the family of country. And as a believer, I thank God for my gift. And as an American, it’s just wonderful to celebrate anything, to show up and say thank you.”
With the glut of nominees for the Country Music Hall of Fame, some may quibble with The Judds being picked now, but few will question their overall qualifications. The Judds continue to unite as a duo for special events, and Wynonna remains a strong solo performer.
The Judds will officially be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in a Medallion Ceremony to be held next spring.