This week, the Country music Association unveiled their newest class of inductees into its Hall of Fame – including rock & roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, neotraditionalist Keith Whitley and long-term RCA executive Joe Galante.
The Country music Hall of Fame operates with a committee selection process for inductees into three categories – Modern Era, Veterans Era and Non-Performer Songwriter and Recording/Touring Musician active prior to 1980 – chosen every three years in rotation.
Ray Charles and The Judds
The Country Music Hall of Fame is set to host the 2022 Medallion Ceremony this fall – its annual reunion for its inductees – at its museum theater. This annual reunion will include performances and live musical tributes as well as video biographies for each inductee as well as an original song composed for this momentous occasion.
In 2022, the Country Music Hall of Fame will welcome three new members: rock & roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis; neotraditionalist Keith Whitley and former RCA Records executive Joe Galante will be honored. Galante became one of the youngest people ever to head a major label’s Nashville division and was instrumental in making RCA Music one of the premier country record labels; signing Alabama, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans Martina McBride Lorrie Morgan and Keith Whitley as among many others.
Jerry Lee Lewis first made an impactful musical impression upon arriving at Sun Records in Memphis in 1957 and immediately released two singles that catapulted him onto the national music scene, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” and “Great Balls of Fire.” Both songs spent two weeks at number one on Billboard’s country charts.
Louisiana native Wayne was one of country music’s most expressive performers, known for his striking stage presence and dynamic vocal style that could span multiple genres. In 1968 he released his debut country album “Another Place, Another Time,” kicking off an astoundingly successful career; also making an impressionful mark by recording classics by Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams.
Charles was an influential singer-songwriter-producer whose style had a great deal of impact on many country artists. One of Charles’ best-known songs was “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”
He enjoyed an impressive career that boasted numerous #1 hits on the Billboard country chart and multiple Grammy awards. His haunting yet romantic voice captured listeners worldwide, touching hearts wherever he went.
He remains an inspiration to new generations of artists and has been recognized by Country Music Association CEO Kyle Young as an innovator who helped to shape the country music scene. His work provided the basis for many country hits – such as Garth Brooks’ hit single, “Mama He’s Crazy.”
Patty Loveless, an icon who personified Appalachian coal mining and Virginia pride, will be honored with induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame this autumn as a Modern Era class member. Tanya Tucker and songwriter Bob McDill also will join her to honor this milestone anniversary year for the Hall.
Loveless’ childhood was marred by an abusive father and struggling mother, prompting her to begin singing at age five and eventually joining Roger Loveless’ band under producer Emory Gordy Jr. At first she enjoyed only moderate success but then in 1988 her follow-up album If My Heart Had Windows produced two top ten hits including Steve Earle’s “A Little Bit of Love.”
After taking a hiatus from recording in the mid-1990s, Loveless returned with her self-titled debut in 1986, producing two hit singles “Timber, I’m Falling in Love” and “Chains.” A year later came The Trouble With the Truth which included another two number-one singles “You Can Feel Bad (If It Makes You Feel Better)” and “Lonely Too Long.”
Mountain Soul was an extraordinary success for this singer, who had moved beyond country-pop since her breakthrough with 1989’s “Timber, I’m Fellin in Love” and 1996’s “The Trouble With the Truth.”
Though she continued producing chart-topping hits throughout the 1990s, her career was often turbulent as her slick pop material lost favor and her traditional songs became less sought after. Eventually she settled into more bluegrass-influenced sounds with 2001 release Mountain Soul II and its follow up in 2006.
Loveless had been mostly hidden from public view over the past decade; she resurfaced during a flood relief benefit in late 2022 and joined Chris Stapleton to perform “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” at the 2022 CMA Awards in November. Their performance highlighted Kentucky where Loveless grew up as well as their state’s continued recovery efforts from devastating floods earlier this year, which she felt strongly connected to and may have secured her Hall of Fame induction by voters at that momentous event.
As any country music fan knows, Country Music Hall of Fame announcements can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. Each year only three artists are selected to join. No one in Nashville takes this prestigious honor lightly, as each inductee finds it significant for themselves and represents something personal for themselves.
Past inductees have been announced via various methods; television spots or press conferences held by CMA members. On Monday, Patty Loveless, Tanya Tucker and Bob McDill were inducted.
Loveless has spent over four decades as a songwriter in country music industry and was honored to be inducted into the country music hall of fame as part of Modern Era category on Monday.
She became a prominent country star during the 90s, scoring several hits including “Stay With Me” which hit number five on country charts and recording an ode to Glen Campbell – whom she lost while they were both together – through one song she created herself.
At this point in her career, she is a superstar country singer-songwriter with millions of records sold worldwide and numerous accolades to her name including CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award.
Tucker launched her career with Columbia Records in 1972 by releasing the song, “Delta Dawn”, about a young girl fleeing her parents. This became an immediate hit and soon afterwards Tucker began performing at clubs around the country.
Becca quickly established herself with her unique and provocative story songs featuring adult imagery, earning rave reviews for her first album (What’s Your Mama’s Name?) which included hits such as “Blood Red and Goin’ Down” and “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone?)”.
Her third album was her most successful one to date. It featured hits like “Try and See,” “It Won’t Be Long” and “Sing Me a Song.”
After she was honored with induction into the Country music Hall of Fame, she released a song honoring Glen Campbell – co-written with a Tennessee state senator – which has become an unexpected country hit.
Bob McDill will join Patty Loveless and Tanya Tucker as members of the country music Hall of Fame 2022, selected to receive induction as Modern Era artists (Loveless) and Veterans Era artists (Tucker). These three artists were selected on Monday by the Country Music Association; their induction will occur during its Medallion Ceremony later in 2019.
McDill began writing songs as a child. Upon learning guitar in high school and joining several bands during his senior year of high school. While at college he met Allen Reynolds and Dickey Lee who encouraged his writing. Furthermore, he served two years in the Navy.
After leaving the military, he relocated to Nashville with Reynolds and Clement. Here he came to appreciate country music’s diverse style as a genre; country songwriters were more focused on telling stories through songs than simply creating them.
He composed 31 number one hits, such as “Gone Country,” “Song of the South” and “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” Additionally, he collaborated with Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Anne Murray, Juice Newton and B. J. Thomas among many other artists.
His melodies provided an ideal link between traditional country and the contemporary sound that flourished in Nashville. Additionally, he taught other songwriters to approach writing songs with narrative in mind.
McDill found his inspiration for his music in the Gulf Coast area where he grew up, where he studied English Literature at Lamar University nearby Beaumont. A lover of gospel music, McDill would listen to R&B on WLAC at nighttime before falling asleep.
McDill began his musical career as a folk musician performing skiffle music with a band. Moving to Nashville in the 1970s, he found solace in country music by forging relationships with producer “Cowboy” Jack Clement and songwriters Allen Reynolds and Dickey Lee – as well as other producers such as “Cowboy” Jack Clement who helped foster his development into songwriting.
He had an immense impact on the music industry during his career and remains an essential figure in country music today. Inducted into the Country Music Association Songwriters Hall of Fame and awarded four Grammy nominations, his compositions continue to make waves today.
McDill also created music that was recorded by artists outside of country music genre, such as Ray Charles, Joe Cocker and The Grateful Dead. His soaring melodies and delicate lyrics created an ideal bridge between traditional country music and newer genres that emerged in Nashville.