As I am sure all of you now know, Jimmy Dean passed away yesterday evening at the age of 81. I am not going through the whole biography of his career. I will just leave it with the statement that he was one of the all time greats in country music history. He has deserved every honor that has come his way through out his life.
I do want to touch on one thing. He was not elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame until earlier this year. While he was a member, the offical medallion ceremony that the Hall of Fame has to welcome the new members had not taken place as of yet. His was scheduled for October. I don't understand the long wait as they knew his heath was not that good.
But, the real sadness of this post is that he had to wait so long to get elected while many younger artists have been elected in. He was elected so late in his life that he never got the chance to enjoy the honor and the recognition that comes with it.
I have nothing against these younger Hall of Fame members such as Vince Gill, Alabama, Emmylou Harris, among others. They are all deserving Hall of Fame members and would have been elected at some point. But, not before many of the legends that deserve to be in the Hall and have set the stage for these younger artists.
There are so many deserving to get in that I am afraid that they will pass away before their time comes. Stars such as Jean Shepard, Dottie West, Jim Ed Brown and The Browns, along with Bobby Bare. I know that there are more. I am happy that they got Jimmy in this year along with Ferlin Husky. But, why the wait. If Jimmy was deserving to get in this year, he was deserving 20 years ago, when he basically retired from performing. He has had no more hit records, no more #1's, but it took the voters 20 years to come to the conclusion that he was Hall of Fame material?
Some of the voting for the Hall of Fame has been questionable at times. Nothing against Dolly Parton, but how does she get in before Porter Wagoner? Or Roy Clark, (who Jimmy fired at one time and helped to launch his career), get in before Jimmy Dean? Or Alabama before the Statler Brothers? Barbara Mandrell before Jean Shepard? It goes on and on.
While I don't want to see the Hall of Fame elect 10 or 20 people at a time, as it delutes the honor, they need to do something to level the playing field for these older stars. As time goes on, it becomes difficult to remember their career achievements. Even today, many of the Hall of Fame voters just see Jean Shepard as the elderly lady on the Opry each week, and not as one of the first female stars of country music.
And, don't kid yourself. I know that there are politics involved with the voters and Jimmy was known to speak his mind over the years. But, to have personal feelings by the voters influence who is in the Hall of Fame? One of the most famous involved Webb Pierce. Several of the voters openly said that they would never vote for Webb as long as he was alive. And, he was the biggest hit maker of the 50's. He was finally voted in the year that there was the special election and 10 artists were voted in at once. The voters finally voted him in, but it was long after Webb was dead and gone. And, that is just wrong!! Those voters should have been shown the door. One thing the Hall needs to do is to make the voters names public so that we can all see who these voters are and what their credentials are to be voting for Hall of Famers.
Those are just my thoughts. Let's get these artists elected into the Hall of Fame while they are still alive and healthy enough to enjoy it. At least Jimmy and Ferlin did get in this year and that is a start. Let's hope they pick up the pace and get some more of the legends elected.
God Bless Jimmy Dean, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. And may God bless his family.