2008 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Brady Vercher | February 12th, 2008

The newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame for 2008 were announced today at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Tom T. Hall, Emmylou Harris, The Statler Brothers, and Ernest “Pop” Stoneman will be inducted into the pantheon of country music’s great later this year.

Stoneman will be inducted into “Career Achieved National Prominence Prior To WWII” category, which is awarded every third year. Due to a tie, both Hall and The Statler Brothers are being inducted in the “WWII to 1975″ category, and Harris is the fourth artist to be inducted in the “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present” since it’s inception in 2005. Congratulations to this year’s class of inductees.

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  1. [...] Artists: Emmylou Harris With her long overdue induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame finally coming to pass, it seems the perfect time to take a look at my favorite Emmylou Harris songs.I'll admit, I [...]
  1. Kelly
    February 12, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Harris and Hall are great choices. That’s How I Got to Memphis is an all-time great, people keep going back to the well to cover it because it’s so great. Harris is the kind of artist that gives country music it’s great name. when artists outside of the genre talk about “good” country, they talk about Harris.

  2. Chris N.
    February 12, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    All excellent choices.

  3. Paul W Dennis
    February 12, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Outstanding choices – Pop Stoneman goes so far back (“Sinking of The Titanic” in 1924 that I assumed he’d been completely forgotten.) Tom T Hall and the Statlers are an appropriate link – their recording of “Billy Christian” was the first million seller of a Tom T Hall song (okay, okay – it was the B side of “Flowers On The Wall”). Emmylou is worthy too although there are some others that should have been in line before her

  4. Billy
    February 12, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I din’t know why it has taken so long for the artists mentioned above to make it into the Hall Of Fame. I beleive that these greats should have been inducted a long time ago!

  5. Dave S
    February 12, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    “Emmylou is worthy too although there are some others that should have been in line before her.”

    I disagree. Emmylou has been standing in line a while too; she didn’t just “cut in.” She has awaited this for a long time, and so have her fans. I’ve been waiting to see her name for the past five years (at least) and it’s nice to see that it has finally happened. Congratulations, Emmylou.

  6. Rick
    February 12, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Since Gram Parsons helped get Emmylou’s career off the ground, and his “Cosmic American Music” was the forerunner of the Americana genre, I think Gram deserves an honorary membership too! I have a sneaking suspicion Emmylou just might mention Gram’s name during her induction…….

    I’ve always wondered why so few artists get inducted every year? Are they running out of space or something? At least its nice when the inductees are still alive to enjoy the honor it bestows.

  7. Chris N.
    February 12, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    @Rick: I can’t say for certain, but it’s always been my impression that the Hall admits so few inductees in order to keep from devaluing the honor. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts many more people per year, and frankly there are some acts in there that just don’t deserve it. So while there are occasionally egregious omissions (Porter Wagoner, for one, should have been inducted far earlier), on balance I think it’s a sensible approach.

    This would also be a nice moment to reflect on how well, in general, the CMHOF really does seem based on merit and thorough consideration. The R&RHOF seems to me much more transparently political.

  8. Paul W Dennis
    February 12, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Dave Actually the HOF didn’t do too badly taking #s 3,4 & 6 on my corrected priority list. I would like to see Jean Shepard get in before she passes away. The case for Connie Smith is that of sheer excellence of execution; Shepard was very influential on the Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette era of singer.

    My earlier post

    “1) Connie Smith – the best female singer ever
    2) Jean Shepard
    3) Tom T. Hall
    4) The Statler Brothers
    5) Don Law – record producer
    6) Emmylou Harris
    7) Ronnie Milsap
    8) The Oak Ridge Boys
    9) Dallas Frazier – probably the greatest songwriter not named Merle Haggard of Harlon Howard
    10) Hank Williams Jr
    11) Chet Flippo
    12) Tanya Tucker
    13) Barbara Mandrell
    14) Reba”

    from a seniority perspective, Mandrell and Hank Jr. have been active longer than Emmylou

  9. Paul W Dennis
    February 12, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    The prior to WW2 category is an interesting one full of mostly forgotten performers such as Rex Griffin, Milton Brown, Bradley Kincaid, Vernon Dalhart, Sam & Kirk McGee, Karl & Harty, the Fruit Jar Drinkers and Carson Robison. The biggest names among this group (Ernest Tubb, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Jimmie Davis, Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Sons of the Pioneers, Bob Wills were inducted many years ago, Honoring members of this group now requires going back and finding forgotten gems. Ernest V Stoneman was a good start

  10. Baron Lane
    February 12, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Alright! Winners all!

  11. Matt C.
    February 13, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Since I seem to be doing nothing except drawing the ire of our readers lately, I’ll go ahead and suggest that Emmylou doesn’t deserve induction. She’s spent most of her career skirting around the edges of the genre and her recorded collection of true country music, while of exceptional quality, is not of sufficient quantity to justify hall of fame membership. I agree with Paul: Connie Smith is at the top of my list and it seems a shame to induct Harris before other female artists of her generation who have spent their career recording exceptional country music.

  12. Hollerin' Ben
    February 13, 2008 at 1:43 am

    haha, make ‘em pay Matt!

    Although she’s not on my short list of folks I think should be inducted on the soon ticket, I do think that she deserves induction.

    She has certainly skirted the genre, but I think that her country recordings justify her inclusion.

    I’m not one who demands long careers for a hall of fame induction, I think that a few significant accomplishments trump a long heralded career of mediocrity.

    For example, I think that Willie secured his place with the Shotgun Willie, Phases and Stages, and Red Headed Stranger albums alone. If he had recorded nothing else, (maybe his songwriting cuts from the 60′s..maybe) he should have secured his place.

    Emmylou’s country records are vibrant enough to warrant inclusion, imo.

    On the other hand, I think that Alabama’s spot in the HOF is a travesty.

    I’m not crazy about Vince Gill in it either.

    (that should take some heat off of ya Matt, no need to thank me.)

  13. Mike W.
    February 13, 2008 at 4:17 am

    About time Tom T. Hall gets in, too bad Country music has moved away from in terms of songwriting from gritty, smart writing like “I Hope It Rains At My Funeral” or “Homecoming” to “All-American Girl”, “Take Me There” and “Picture To Burn”.

  14. Chris N.
    February 13, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Next person that disses Emmylou, we’re gonna have to go outside and settle it like gentlemen.

  15. M.C.
    February 13, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Matt C — I have to questino what your definition of country music is, because it seems awfully narrow. From 1975 on, when Emmylou was cutting her first albums, she recorded songs by the Louvins, Buck Owens, Harlan Howard, Dolly’s great “To Daddy” as well as originals like “One of These Days” that were the definition of country music to me, and she did it in an era when country radio was dominated by Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Barbara Mandrell, T.G. Sheppard, etc. Her songs were played amid those other songs. Even her rock songs–say, her cover of “C’est La Vie”, are full of steel guitar and lean to the country side of “country rock,” certainly as much as a song like “Family Tradition” does, let’s say.

    If you look at her recors, it wasn’t until well into the ’90s that Emmylou started expanding beyond fairly straightforward country music, both traditional and contemporary. Past that, a majority of significant singers from the ’80s and ’90s cite her as a primary influence–Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, Suzy Bogguss, Gail Davies–the list goes on and on. It’s not just women, but you get the idea. She also brought a score of influential and great bands. That list is a long one, too.

    I think she’s one of the most significant country artists of her era–for her success, for the quality of her albums, for her influence on others, for those she brought into the genre. She’s also done it with integrity and great taste. Tell me again why she dones’t belong in the Hall of Fame?

    Also, for better or worse, there is a category of 1975 on. Connie Smith was competing against Tom T. Hall and the Statlers, not against Emmylou. She’ll get in soon, I’m sure.

    I think Chris nailed the idea of why there’s a positive aspect to the Hall of Fame keeping its annual inductions limited. It’s an exclusive club, and that makes it a great honor for those who make it.

  16. Chris N.
    February 13, 2008 at 11:07 am

    By my figuring, Emmylou’s solo output is unequivocally country up until her 18th album in 20 years (‘Wrecking Ball’). That seems like a reasonable quantity of material to go on.

  17. Baron Lane
    February 13, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    well if we’re talking seniority in relation to Emmylou, I believe Gram Parsons deserves to be inducted before her. Without Gram there would be no Emmylou as we know her.

    But she wholly deserves the honor in her own right.

  18. Brody Vercher
    February 13, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    Methinks that in due time Asleep at the Wheel, Dale Watson and even Johnny Bush will/should be considered for the Hall, unless voters feel that they fall too far out of the mainstream/public consciousness.

  19. Paul W Dennis
    February 14, 2008 at 5:10 am

    rethinking my list slightly (I’ve overlooked Bobby Bare for far too long) – here’s my revised “who should go in next” list for next year

    1) Connie Smith – the best female singer ever
    2) Jean Shepard
    3) Don Law – record producer
    4) Bobby Bare
    5) Ronnie Milsap
    6) The Oak Ridge Boys
    7) Dallas Frazier – probably the greatest songwriter not named Merle Haggard of Harlon Howard
    8) Hank Williams Jr
    9) Chet Flippo
    10) Tanya Tucker
    11) Barbara Mandrell
    12) Reba
    13) Don Williams

  20. Brady Vercher
    February 14, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Sweet, ’tis good to see Don Williams on your list, Paul.

  21. M.C.
    February 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

    That is a good list, Paul. You can take Don Law off and give yourself another slot. Law has been a member of the Hall of Fame since 2001, and deservedly so.

    I’d make a few suggestions, too. The Stanley Brothers would be in the top 5 of my list. I think Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis would be in or near my top 10. Like it or not, Kenny Rogers should also be on the list, probably equal or ahead of Mandrell and the Oaks.

    Also, Billy Sherrill and Jerry Kennedy are two producers I hope will get a nod someday. With songwriters, I’d probably put Hank Cochran ahead of Dallas Frazier, but they both should be in there.

    I still think musicians are where the Hall lacks recognition the most. Grady Martin, Tommy Jackson, Bob Moore, Buddy Harman, Pig Robbins, Ray Edenton and Hank Garland, for a start, all have played on thousands of hits and tens of thousands of recordings. They often came up with their own parts, including many signature riffs of classic tunes. The great country music of the ’50s and ’60s wouldn’t have sounded the same without them.

  22. Paul W Dennis
    February 14, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Okay – delete Don Law (I forgot about his induction) and slip Doc Williams, Wilf Carter, Carter & Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, Bradley Kincaid, Jimmy Martin and Kenny Rogers onto the list (that brings the list up to 20)

    As for musicians (I think there is a separate musicians Hall of Fame), it would be hard to know where to start. I guess I’d start with Johnny Gimble and work from there

    Johnny Gimble
    Junior Huskey
    Moon Mullican
    Pete Drake
    Jerry Kennedy
    Hank Garland
    Grady Martin
    Jimmy Day
    Bud Isaac
    Vassar Clements
    Josh Graves
    Beecher Ray Kirby
    John Hughey

    if I kept going the list would reach about 100 names without nearly being complete

  23. M.C.
    February 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Paul–

    Jimmy Martin and Mac Wiseman, definitely. Good call.

    As for the musicians, those are all important ones. But when it comes to the number of hit records played on, and important instrumental parts created and contributed, I’d put some others ahead of some on your list.

    Bob Moore before Huskey, for instance–as great as Huskey was, there’s not much comparison in the number of hit sessions played. Tommy Jackson on fiddle, whose work with Ray Price alone should get him in, but he worked with nearly every major artist in Nashville in the ’50s and ’60s. He’s Eddie Stubbs’ favorite fiddler, for instance, and of course Stubbs is a great fiddler himself. Gimble often got the call when someone needed a great swing fiddler, but I bet he’d bow his bow to Mr. Jackson, too.

    Along those lines, I think even Jerry Kennedy would say that Grady Martin should go in before him–in fact he did pay tribute to Martin while live on the radio with Eddie Stubbs the other night. I think every old, living country guitarist would say that.

    Also, Pig Robbins before any other session pianist, including Mullican, who really should go in as an artist and songwriter as well as pianist. Moon did play some sessions, but not like other guys, especially Pig.

    I think one mark of Pig’s expertise shows in two of the thousands of artists he backed. He came up with and plays the intro to Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors,” which most people would think was Charlie. It’s one of the classic piano parts of country music( as is Pig’s part on “Don’t It Keep My Brown Eyes Blue.”) Pig also plays most of Jerry Lee Lewis’ piano parts on his Mercury Records. Jerry Lee’s, um, individual style made it hard for other musicians to lock in with him on records, and Jerry Lee always refused to record his part more than once or to overdub anything. So Jerry Kennedy brought in Pig, with Jerry Lee’s blessing, and Pig adapted to JL’s style in a way that could fit with the bars of the songs they were recording–”Middle Age Crazy,” “Chantilly Lace,” etc.

    Even fictional characters preferred him. In the movie “Nashville,” when Henry Gibson is playing the character modeled on Hank Snow, they bring in a pianist named Rabbit or Skunk or Bird or something like that. After they get started, Gibson stops the session because of the pianist and says, “When I say I want Pig, I mean I want the real Pig!”

    You’re right that the Musicians Hall of Fame is picking up and honoring musicians who haven’t received the recognition they deserve from other Halls. They had a great list of inductees this year, in country and other categories.

  24. Kevin
    February 18, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Best list of inductees in years. Statlers, Hall and Stoneman were way overdue, and with Harris finally being inducted, the 1975-present category has honored an artist that isn’t still on a major label for the first time. I’d have wagered money that Reba McEntire was getting that slot this year, but I’m happy to have been wrong. Harris belongs in there before her, though McEntire should get the nod in 2009, no doubt.

  25. Laura
    February 18, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    I think there is a bunch of stars that should be in here that are not. It is such a shame some of the stars have to die before they are inducted. I’m glad to see the Statlers get in, I LOVE them

  26. Lucas
    February 20, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Every single one of these people/groups deserve it.

  27. keith
    March 8, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    sneaky PETE KLEINOW should top of ANY list r.i.p.

  28. circa
    March 9, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Right on M.C posted 2/13/08. Emmylou is deserving of the honor. Your data is correct.

    She has been an great influence on many. I especially like the fact that she had “dueted” (sang duets) with numberous folks.

  29. Donald Petrie
    June 8, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    It is a shame that Kenny Rogers, Roy Clark, Barbra Mandrell, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Ronnie Milsap have not gone in by now. There is not a more talented woman in the World than Barbra Mandrell. More than 40 #1 hits is not good enough for Ronnie and Kenny. I am just glad the Statlers are finally in. I do not understand who these people are judging others careers and not recognize the greatness of the people I have mentioned.

  30. Razor X
    June 8, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Kevin said, “…and with Harris finally being inducted, the 1975-present category has honored an artist that isn’t still on a major label for the first time.”

    Emmylou is still on a major label. Nonesuch Records is a division of Warner Bros.

  31. Matt B.
    June 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Razor,

    Nonesuch Records is the “indie” branch for Warner. Kinda like “RED Distribution” is for Sony. It is funded by a ‘major’ but ran like an indie or at least perceived that way.

  32. Bruce
    January 31, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    They are going make their 2009 announcement on February 4. I am hoping that either Jean Shepard, Connie Smith Or Jim Ed Brown get in. The Wilburn Brothers would not be a bad choice either. All of the above would be in pre 1975 category. For the post 1975 category, I would like to see either Randy Travis or Alan Jackson. As far as sideman musician, I would like to see either Don Rich or Bashful Brother Oswald.

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