Sunday, January 12, 2014

Country Music Hall of Fame-Election of 2014

The voting for the 2014 inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame is now getting underway. The rotating category this year is for songwriters. This individual will join the person, or persons, elected from the modern and veteran eras. As far as when the announcement will be made, last year's took place on April 10. In past years, the inductees have been announced anywhere from late February or into March. It all depends on how many of the new inductees are living and on what date they can get everyone together for the announcement.

As in the past, I am sure there will be articles from various writers that will list who they believe are the 5 finalists in each category. But as we learned again last year, these so-called lists are just about worthless. 2 of those elected, Bobby Bare and Jack Clement, did not appear on any of these lists. I think it just shows that we are not the only ones guessing. And I think it also confirms that the voters are sworn to secrecy as to who is on the final ballot. From a personal standpoint, I enjoy the days when the finalists were announced aheard of time. It allowed for discussion and debate. As close knit as things are in Nashville, I have to believe that those who are on the final ballot, know who they are.

That said, here are my thoughts on each category and who I feel will be among those that will receive serious consideration. And as usual, I will offer my choices.

Since the "songwriters" category was established, Bobby Braddock has been elected to the Hall. Other songwriters who have been elected include Kris Kristofferson, Harlan Howard, Cindy Walker, along with Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Yes, there are other members of the Hall of Fame who were very successful songwriters, including Bill Anderson, Tom T. Hall, Charlie Louvin among others, but they were also very talented performers. This category is tough because there are so many deserving songwriters and a case could be make for any of them. 2 names that I will throw out are Hank Cochran and Don Schlitz. If you want a third name, how about Dean Miller. I know there are many others, but they come to mind first. You can't go wrong with any of them. My first thought would be Hank Cochran. His first songwriting credit was in 1960 with "I Fall to Pieces", which he co-wrote with Harlan Howard. "Make the World Go Away" came next and the hits just followed. He passed away in 2010.

Next up is the "veteran" era nominee. It is the one category that seems to create more of a backlog each year and as with the songwriter category, there are so many deserving candidates. Those in the veteran era category are eligible for election 45 years after they achieve "national prominence". That would take it back to 1969 or earlier. I bring this up because, as always, there are individuals or groups that could fall into either the veteran era or the modern era, depending on how "national prominence" is determined. The 2 that come to mind this year are Ronnie Milsap and the Oak Ridge Boys. Both have been mentioned as finalists previously, usually in the modern era category. But depending on circumstances, they both could land in the veterans category this year. In the case of Ronnie Milsap, he did not hit it big as a singer in the country field until after 1970, but prior to that he was writing and performing. His first single was actually released in 1963. In the case of the Oak Ridge Boys, they have been around since the 1940s. However the current country line-up did not come together until the early 1970s. This past year, they toured in celebration of their 40th anniversary. I guess if there was someone who had similar circumstances it would be Kenny Rogers. Although he first became known in the 1960's as part of the First Edition, he did not hit it big in the country field until the mid 1970s. And last year, he was elected in the modern category.

In looking at the veteran category, those who have received serious consideration in the past several years, and have been finalists depending on who you ask, would include Hank Williams, Jr., Jim Ed Brown, The Browns, The Wilburn Brothers, Archie Campbell, Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens, June Carter Cash, Mac Wiseman and Dottie West. I would assume that these will be the main contenders again this year. Last year, a big push was made for Dottie West. I know there were some who felt she should have been elected before Connie Smith and I think her election in 2012 might have stimulated the push for Dottie. The supporters for Dottie West have been very vocal and active. They have a Facebook page devoted to her and getting her elected and in 2013 they had a strong campaign going to make sure the voters were educated in what a great career she had. There is also a small exhibit for her in the Hall of Fame. While she did not get elected in 2013, an impact was made with the voters. Even with that, it could still be tough for her to get elected in 2014.

In my mind, the strongest candidate will be The Browns. 2013 was a good year for Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie as Jim Ed was recognized for being a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 50 years. Maxine and Bonnie were included in the August celebration and at the Opry that night, a lot of people in the music industry came to visit with them. I think it shed some new light on their careers and how successful they were. While Maxine and Bonnie retired in the late 1960s, Jim Ed has continued on with a great solo career and as a successful duet with Helen Cornelius. A strong argument can be made that Jim Ed could be elected as a solo artist. I think another thing going for The Browns is the election of Bobby Bare last year. There was some confusion over the outcome and Bobby Bare and The Browns have been tied so closely together that perhaps Bobby's election will actually help The Browns.

Arguments can also be made for Mac Wiseman, who was a pioneer in the business. The major success for him came in the 1950s through the 1960s and he will always be associated with Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs. But he also had a fine career as a solo artist. He was also one of the founding members of the Country Music Association. Jerry Reed was one of the finest guitarists in any form of music and he had a fine string of hit records in the 1970s and 80s and he also acted in some movies. Archie Campbell was a country comedian who was a writer and performer on Hee Haw. He was also a long time member of the Grand Ole Opry. In fact, he was the first comedian at the Opry who insisted on performing dressed in a suit and not in the usual rural country clothing that the Opry's management insisted that comedians wear. Archie also wrote a few songs and was one of the first country entertainers to operate a theater in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which was the part of the country where he was from. June Carter's career has been well documented as has the career of Hank Williams, Jr. Hank Jr., will be elected at some point, but I can't say the same for June. I think people sometimes forget what a talent Ray Stevens is. Not only is he a great writer and performer, but he is also one of the smartest businesmen in country music.

My guess for 2014 would be The Browns. I think this could be their year. But, and this is a big but, if for some reason the Oak Ridge Boys end up in this category, I could easily see them getting in. The Oaks had a big year in 2013 with the tour and new music, and say what you will about them, they put on a great show and are very popular.

Now for the "modern"category, which is for those who have had a career of 20 years or more. That would include anyone who's career acheived "national prominence" from 1970-1994. To really nobody's great surprise, Kenny Rogers was elected in 2013, with Garth Brooks getting in the previous year. There was some thought that when Garth got elected it would begin the era of electing those who came into their own in the early 1990s, but last year the voters retreated and took a step back. It was almost as if in 2012 the voters thought that Garth would get in sooner or later, so let's get it over with. But who can complain when he has been the biggest thing in country music for the past 25 years.

So let's step forward to 2014. I think there are 3 names to watch this year: Ricky Skaggs, Alan Jackson and Randy Travis. Let's start with Ricky. There is no doubt that he has the resume to get elected. His career has been long and successful and he helped to lead the traditionalist movement in the 1980s. Yes, he is outspoken at times. One thing to think about is that he is the current "artist-in-residence" at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Why is that important to note? We'll the last 2, Kenny Rogers and Connie Smith, were elected to the Hall in that same year. Previous residences have included Tom T Hall, Jack Clement, and Kris Kristofferson, all eventually elected to the Hall.

If there was an artist from the early 1990s that would be next in line for election after Garth Brooks, it would be Alan Jackson. Alan has won so many awards that I could not list them all. He has had 35 #1 singles and has sold more than 60 million records worldwide. If there was anything holding Alan back it has been his personality and the way he has treated some folks around Nashville. But, he was a friend of George Jones and that association never hurts.

Randy Travis has had a tough year. It is so said to see what has happened to this great singer and now at the young age of 54, his career seems finished. After a career that saw him achieve 16 #1 singles and over 50 singles on the charts, things started to fall apart for Randy in 2010 when he divorced his wife Lib Hatcher and she no longer was his manager. He was arrested several times in addition to several embarrasing incidents involving public nudity. It seemed he had it rock bottom but it got worse for Randy as in July 2013 he was admitted to a hospital with a serious life threatening heart condition. Several days later he suffered a stroke. Depending on what report you read, or believe, Randy remains at least partially paralyzed and will never be able to perform again. While Randy has never been listed as a finalist before, and I don't know why, nothing helps a person get an award or recognition as much as a serious health crisis or death. The reason Chet Atkins was elected to the Hall at such a young age was because people thought he was going to die. Thankfully, he recovered. The voters might feel that this would be the time to honor Randy. If his condition is as serious as some have reported and his recovery is in doubt, the voters might want to make sure he receives the recognition before his condition becomes even more serious.

Others who should receive serious consideration include Ronnie Milsap (depending on what category he ends up in), Brooks & Dunn and probably The Judds.

My guess is probably Randy Travis, for the reasons I stated above, with Ricky Skaggs right behind.

Those are my thoughts. Randy Travis, The Browns and Hank Cochran.

Reaction and thoughts!!!!!!!



31 comments:

  1. Byron: Where Do I start? I think we are both on the same page in the songwriter category. I believe Hank Cochran is the most deserving this year. I would also not discard Dallas Frazier. But without doubt, Don Schlitz, Curly Putman and Dean Dillon may also be considered. My problem with Cochran being elected is the fact he is deceased. The record speaks for itself. After the mass induction of 2001 only four persons have been inducted posthumously. They are; Floyd Cramer, DeFord Bailey, Pop Stoneman and Lew DeWitt (of the Statler Brothers). Not one deceased artist in 12 years has been elected from the Modern or Veterans categories. Are there any worthy candidates from either category? Sure there are. From year to year as names appear on these ballots the electors are of the frame of mind, let's take care of those living first. The result is a backlog of artists that may be forgotten in time unless a posthumous category is formed.

    I am just as confused on "who is eligible" from each category as well. From what I can read and figure out any of the following artists could be inducted from the Modern Era Category this year (I'll list their names with the year they first achieved national prominence in Country Music). They are; Crystal Gayle (1970), Anne Murray (1970), Charlie Rich (1970), Ray Stevens (1970), Jerry Clower (1971), Tanya Tucker (1972), Ronnie Milsap (1973), John Denver (1974), Mickey Gilley (1974), Eddie Rabbitt (1975), Gene Watson (1975), Charlie Daniels (1976), Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (1976), Vern Gosdin (1976), The Oak Ridge Boys (1977), Steve Wariner (1980), Ricky Skaggs (1981), The Judds (1984), Marty Stuart (1986), Randy Travis (1986), Keith Whitley (1986), Patty Loveless (1988), Clint Black (1989), Lorrie Morgan (1989), Alan Jackson (1990), Brooks & Dunn (1991), Martina McBride (1992), Toby Keith (1993), Alison Krauss (1994) and Tim McGraw (1994). That's a heck of a list folks. And while everyone listed may not get elected I think a good case could be made for each one. At one a year, it will NEVER happen. But according to what I can read Gayle, Murray, Rich and Stevens will fall back to the Veterans category next year. So now let's look at some of the veterans that have been mentioned or considered for induction: Bradley Kincaid (1926), Cowboy Copas (1943), Stringbean (1944), Mac Wiseman (1944), Johnny & Jack (1947), The Wilburn Brothers (1948), Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters (1949), The Browns (1954), Jimmy C. Newman (1954), Stonewall Jackson (1956), Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (1957), Jerry Lee Lewis (1957), Archie Campbell (1958), Dottie West (1963), Hank Williams, Jr. (1964), Lynn Anderson (1967) and Jerry Reed (1967). A case could be made for every individual on here as well.

    I think this election process is so politically motivated we will never truly know all the true facts and completely understand the process at all. I have yet to find anyone that can tell me what is considered and what rules apply in the case of a "tie". The equal amount of votes? Or so many votes close to each other? Like Byron, I am against mass inductions. But if the categories were changed and tweaked a bit, and 5 were elected or so, I think that would be acceptable. And even at that rate, it will still be years before they are caught up.

    So my predictions for 2014? In reality, I have no earthly idea !! . A pretty reliable source I have in Nashville is telling me there is great consideration for Charlie Daniels this year. From what I can see on the outside looking in, it looks like Ricky Skaggs, with him being the artist in residence at the Hall of Fame. But my thoughts about Randy Travis are the same as Byron's. On the veterans side of it, the glaring omission of The Browns is disgraceful. But the push for Dottie West is great. And at the same time I hear whispers of Jerry Reed.

    My wish list would be; Hank Cochran, The Browns and Ronnie Milsap; My prediction is; Dallas Frazier, Dottie West and Ricky Skaggs.

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    1. Excuse me, I was in a hurry typing I guess: My predictions are Dallas Frazier, Dottie West & The Browns (tie) and Ricky Skaggs.

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  2. Fred, Bismarck:

    I think election of Travis before Skaggs would be a great injustice. You could argue that without Ricky, who hit it big five years sooner, there wouldn't have been any Randy. There would no longer have been any trad-country ground for Randy's career to take root in, at least on radio. (About the position we've finally achieved today.) Ricky is also head and shoulders ahead of Randy in musicianship and quality of material. In my always-opinionated opinion.

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    1. What they really need to do is up the number of inductees from 3 to 5 and remove the categories, because much of the backlog is in the Modern Era category, particularly the 70's through the early 90's. It seems like to get into the Country Music Hall that in a lot of cases it's not how many butts you put in seats at concerts or in check-out lines at the record store but how many butts you kissed, especially in Nashville insider circles. At least Garth Brooks a couple of years ago had the testicular fortitude to at least state publicly that Keith Whitley should have been inducted before him. In fact, Keith should have been inducted 10 years ago at least.

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  3. David, some great research that you did there and some great names. I agree that a case can be made for most of those listed, but we both realize that many of those will never get elected.

    The songwriter category is wide open. I think we can agree that it could be anyone. There are so many worthy ones out there, especially the older guys that you named. I have to admit that I completely forgot about Curly Putman and there is no excuse for that. He's a great one.

    Among the veterans listed, as much as we would hope, I don't think Bradley Kincaid, Cowboy Copas, Stringbean, Mac Wiseman, the Carter Sisters, Jimmy C Newman, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper or Stonewall Jackson will ever get in. I know that a few of the younger voters have made the comment in the past that if some of these pioneers were so good, why aren't they already in. And if you remember, they changed the categories after Pop Stoneman was elected and one of the reasons they made the change was that many of the voters did not think there were any more Hall of Fame worthy candidates from the pre-World War II era.

    Now for all of the names listed in the modern era. I think the best chance for most of them will be when the move eventually into the veterans category. I would say that is where Crystal Gayle, Ray Stevens, Larry Gatlin and a few of the others stand their best chance. Some are just too young and will have to "wait their turn" if you will.

    I can tell you that if there is a tie, both get in. That happened with the Tom T Hall and Statler Brothers vote. A tie would actually be nice because that means someone else will get in. And yes, David, I agree that there is a lot of politics behind the scenes. The stories are endless. Voters refusing to vote for Faron Young and Webb Pierce while they were still alive? True. Funny thing is that we both could go through every name you listed and name people who they offended at some point of time.

    Agree, no mass induction but also agree that there could be a change or 2 in the categories. Perhaps the pre-1950 category can be added into the rotation. That could help a bit in the veterans category. Perhaps the Hall of Fame could form a committee to look at the pioneers one more time, much as the Baseball Hall of Fame did a few years ago.

    Fred, I have always thought that Ricky Skaggs should be in by now. His influence was great and you are right, he has been around longer. But I just think this whole Randy Travis tragedy might get him in. There was an internet story out today that he is still paralyzed on one side and can hardly speak.

    As always, good debates.

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    1. Byron said: "Perhaps the pre-1950 category can be added into the rotation. That could help a bit in the veterans category. Perhaps the Hall of Fame could form a committee to look at the pioneers one more time, much as the Baseball Hall of Fame did a few years ago. "

      To me, this is logical. And in a way they really have done this in the past. Going back years, many years after the Hall of Fame was organized and looked at early performers. Pioneers of the from the 1920's and 1930's, Vernon Dalhart (1981), Ralph S. Peer (1984), Patsy Montana (1996), The Delmore Brothers (2001), DeFord Bailey (2005), Pop Stoneman (2008) all properly should have gone in during the first 10 years after the conception of the Hall of Fame.

      A special committee consisting of Country Music historians and possibly even older Hall of Fame members would be good to constitute such a committee. It would give those artists such as Cowboy Copas, Stringbean, Bradley Kincaid, Mac Wiseman, The Wilburns, The Carters and others, who's influence has grown much bigger years after their deaths (Mac is still with us), a chance for induction. Not only solo artists , but even those behind the scenes and sidemen. In the rotating categories, the names Jenny Lou Carson (songwriter), Vito Pellettieri (non-performer) and Tommy Duncan and Bashful Brother Oswald (sidemen) come to mind. Aside from Cindy Walker, Ms. Carson was the most successful songwriter of the 1940's and 1950's, that did not have commercial success of their own. Pellettieri kept the Grand Ole Opry shows on track for "x" amount of years (Byron you may have the exact numbers), and some call him the strings that kept order together. Tommy Duncan was more popular with many people than his boss, Bob Wills; And well most of know the influence and mainstay Brother Oswald was for over 60 years. All worthy of Hall induction in my book. Such a committee would help the efforts to get these (and others) elected.

      Sometimes the importance and influence of people are not appreciated and noticed until we have lost them. I think the recent Bakersfield display at the Hall of Fame is example of that. Wynn Stewart in all logic should be a member of the Hall of Fame. Without his efforts we may not have had the Buck Owens' or Merle Haggard's. He is an example of how influence may only been noticed years after someone is gone.

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  4. Thank you Byron & David B for all the GREAT Hall of Fame reading. The knowledge you both present is quite impressive & very much appreciated.

    After reading all of it, I can honestly say, there is not much that I can add except who I would like to see be in the 2014 Class of inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    Songwriter - Whoever is voted in by the voters

    Whether it be Dallas Frazier, Hank Cochran, Dean Miller, Don Schlitz or even Dean Dillon, is there a bad one on this list? If we have loved the songs we have listened to, we have loved the writer. Can't think of one Connie Smith song, written by Dallas Frazier, I haven't loved to really liked, she's recorded a ton of his songs, I believe I heard or read something like 70/72 songs of his that she has recorded. And he's written the following that others have had major hits such as; Fourteen Carat Mind, If My Heart Had Windows (one great, great song by Patty Loveless), There Goes My Everything, All I Have To Offer You Is Me, Johnny One-Time, (I'm So) Afraid of Losing You Again, What's Your Mama's Name, Beneath Still Waters & Elvira - he also wrote Alley Oop (that the Hollywood Argyles made famous) & Mohair Sam .... the list of songs this guy has written and that we have heard on the radio, albums and/or in concert, is totally overwhelming, does he deserve to go in? Oh you betcha he does. But again, whoever is voted in the songwriting category - it will all be good.

    Veteran Era - The Browns

    Modern Era - Ricky Skaggs

    David B - I fully agree with what you wrote in your last paragraph, I hope you don't mind if I add the following to it; sometimes the importance and influence of people are not appreciated and noticed because if only one artist is voted into the Hall of Fame every year, so many years can pass by & possibly close to a generation that people of a younger generation do not know of the ones that came a generation to a generation & a half earlier. Do you really think that the young, giggly girls who just LOVE Taylor Swift even know who Wynn Stewart is, much less care who Wynn Stewart is? That's where I see today's "country music" (that we hear on radio) as being right about now. I'm REAL tired of hearing the phrases "old school" or "old school country" - really? Half the stuff I hear on today's country radio I like & think is decent, the other half? Makes me gag ... (sorry)

    I am bringing up the "group induction" concept which I know was not overly popular but when one looks at the list of those who went in, if they didn't go in when they did, then when? One artist per category, per year? It may never happen, since every year finds more artists being added to the ever growing list.

    Inducting one artist a year from the veteran & modern era is just not enough - and the category that rotates every three years is just as ridiculous. I would like to see a change in the songwriter category - I would like a songwriter to be inducted every year. We have all heard the phrase "it's all about the song." True enough & since it is true, without the song, there obviously would be no artist - so they should spin the songwriting part out of that rotating category & make songwriting a category all its own. There are too many great writers that may never get into the Hall of Fame that should with the voting process the way it currently is.

    (Jeanene)

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  5. A great discussion as always.

    Byron is right about the health issue. In fact, the year after Chet went in, Owen Bradley had a heart attack. Chet told him he'd go in next ... and he was right! But the sad thing is that Ricky Skaggs should go in ahead of him and should, really, have gone in before Garth or Vince--and I mean no disrespect to either of them. But I think Ricky was that important to the revival of country music. So, probably Randy when it should be Ricky.

    On the veterans, how can you miss? I wish Mac Wiseman would get it--he is deserving on a variety of levels. But The Browns deserve it, should get it, and I hope they will get it.

    Among songwriters, I think it's a crime that in this category, Hank Cochran and Dallas Frazier weren't the first two to go in. I'd like to see Frazier get it since he's here to smell the roses.

    David B, you did indeed make some great points. Byron and I are baseball fans and we run into these issues with that hall of fame: what IS a hall of famer? Setting aside the steroid issue in baseball, there are players who were really, really good, but is greatness the standard? I can make a case for a lot of baseball people, just as I can for the people mentioned in this thread. I think it also speaks well for everybody that we have room for debate. There's no clear-cut, obvious selection.

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  6. I agree with everybody .There should a little more names in the modern & veteran category.Like 2-4 in each category.And the before 1950 category should count as well.Then that backlog will get smaller as time goes on.Great lists fom the Modern & Veteran category.My picks would be;MODERN-Randy Travis,Ricky Scaggs,Tanya Tucker.VETERNS-Hank Williams Jr.,Dottie West,June Carter Cash,Wilburns,Browns.SONGWRITERS-Dallas Frazier,Don Schiltz.

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  7. Vito Pellettieri was the manager of the Opry for 43 years [1934-1977] if anybody wants to know.

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  8. Guys Who Do You Think Will Get In Not Only This Year But Also In 2015 2016 2017 2018 And 2019

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  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    The answer to Hall voters who ask, of certain veterans, "If they were so great, why aren't they already in?" --

    Well, because silly voters like you were too busy electing people like Jimmy Dean, Brenda Lee, the Everly Brothers and at least a dozen others I could name (and step on more toes here than I want to) who are underqualified or hijacked from another musical genre altogether.

    As For Looking Down The Road, The Year I'm Really Curious About Is 2020.

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  10. Guys Looking Down The Road The Year Im Really Curlous About Is 2020 I Wonder Who Will Get In That Year

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  11. Good question.Who will get in the hall of fame in 2015-2020.Only time will tell.We just have to wait and see.If I had my way,I put in those from the pre-1950 category & posthumous category every year.That way you would get rid of some of that backlog.

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  12. Fred, Bismarck:

    Agree with Jeanene, I'd rather see a mass induction of worthy oldtimers, if that's what it takes, than have them excluded. But it shouldn't be an occasional for letting down standards and sentimentally admitting everybody's favorites. I'd say, for starters -- to be a broken record (heh, heh) -- Mac Wiseman, Johnnie & Jack, and Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper.

    I mean, listen to their catalog, Hall voters! These acts were all a huge presence on country radio in the 1950s, and their lack of play today is a shame, not on them, but on the radio suits.

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  13. Fred, Bismarck:

    An "occasion" rather than an "occasional"!

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  14. One internet site already has one of those "Lists" floating around: it consists of Alan Jackson, Johnny Paycheck, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis and Hank Williams, Jr. If these were nominees it would have to be the Modern era. Hank,Jr. & Paycheck I guess could easily fit in either category. Both had success prior to 1970 and well into the 1980's.

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  15. Fred, Bismarck:

    Hank Jr. is another of those acts who cannot be denied the Hall forever. He's got all the creds: longevity, a list of genuinely country hits as long as your arm, musicianship, showmanship ... in fact, everything that Ricky Skaggs has, plus strong songwriting (Ricky's sole shortcoming).

    These two are, to me, far and away at the top of that list found by David. To me, it's idle to even start considering the Hall-worthiness of the other three until Skaggs and Hank Jr. have been served.

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  16. Fred, I think Hank Jr. gets overlooked or ignored a bit because he has led a controversial life--not just politics, but being raised as he was and being who he is. I confess, I'm not a fan. But I don't question that he's deserving. I just suspect that he has stepped on some toes, and that could be a problem. But I also hear rumblings that Ricky hasn't endeared himself to a few folks. I guess we can't all be universally beloved!

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  17. Fred, Bismarck:

    You tell it like it is, Michael. I know it's asking a lot of voters to cast their ballots for someone they may well have had personal run-ins with ... and, conversely, to restrain from voting for someone who is personally popular, maybe even a friend, whose creds may be marginal. I've heard it said we're all human ... also that some of us are all too human!

    Ideally, of course, voters would try to be objective. I can sure appreciate an objective argument against Hank Jr. (Did a lot of rock, also a lot of self-conscious "outlaw" stuff I think is BS.) With me, it's the best of a considerable body of work that I approve. If someone goes the other way, with a different take on that same body of work, I salute.

    What I don't like is somebody getting into the Hall because Bill Anderson or Marty Stuart likes them. Or being excluded because they made themselves obnoxious with their swimming pool or failure to be in the newspaper all the time for worthy causes ... neither of which has anything to do with that which we're supposed to hold most high in the Hall, the music.

    I've got lots of time to bloviate tonight because the Opry lineup is so unattractive. Next week, I believe, promises better ... the Old Crow Medicine Show! Just came up from listening to them tonight, along with the Bear Family hillbilly hit parade from 1949. Believe it or not, folks, commercial country music used to be better!

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  18. Fred, I'll never forget when TNN had that series "Country Standard Time" (some of the material from it has shown up on You Tube), with rotating hosts, one time it was Faron Young and Jeannie Seely. He shocked her by saying he didn't want to go into the Hall of Fame after he died, that if he wasn't good enough alive, etc. Well, Faron was a character in good ways and bad, as we know, but he and Webb Pierce offended some people and paid for it. But I also recall the story that there were catcalls in 1966 when Eddy Arnold went in, and both Buck Owens and Ray Price had to wait far too long. I don't know that Porter Wagoner angered anybody, but the fact that he went in after Dolly Parton, whose career he really started, was offensive to me!

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  19. I would find it very hard to believe that Johnny Paycheck made the ballot over The Oak Ridge Boys and Ronnie Milsap. But I'm sure stranger things have happened in HOF voting over the years.

    Yes, I agree, the deliberate exclusion for several years of Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Porter Wagoner and Don Gibson was nothing but dirty pool. Their achievements should have been honored regardless how many people liked or disliked them. Without doubt the same has kept The Wilburn Brothers out as well, and in reality properly Hank, Jr.. He should have already been inducted. Its been 50 years since his first major success in commercial country music. Hank Williams, Sr., Roy Acuff, Eddy Arnold, Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, Jim Reeves, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Alabama, George Strait, Vince Gill and Garth Brooks all got in under 25 years. Many others was 25 to 30. Any fool can see its pure politics keeping him out.

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  20. There is no way that Johnny Paycheck is on any list of finalists for the Hall of Fame. While he had a nice career in country music and was also a fine writer, he did not have a Hall of Fame career. Let me remind everyone again, as these various lists are floated around, Bobby Bare and Jack Clement were elected last year and they did not appear on any of the so called "lists" that were out there.

    As far as Hank Williams, Jr., there is no doubt that he will get elected at some point. He is pretty well respected and liked among the country music executives and artists, despite his political statements. I don't think it is so much about politics as the fact that there is such a jam of Hall of Fame worthy artists. This is what happens when you only elected 1 a year in each category. As a few more of the veterans get elected, he will get in. Plus, he is still relatively young.

    Peter Cooper had an outstanding article in the Tennessean today about Ronnie Milsap. He has new music coming out next week, along with a Grand Ole Opry appearance coming up. Peter is about the best there is when it comes to these types of articles. With the Hall of Fame voting going on, I am sure that a few of the voters will look at this article and give Ronnie a second look. He is another that should have been in the Hall by now.

    As far as politics influencing voters, as the old saying goes, "be nice to the people you meet on the way up because you are going to see them again on the way down."

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  21. Dallas Frazier, the Browns & Mac Wiseman (tie), and the Oak Ridge Boys would be my picks. No doubt some of the pre 1950 artists -- Al Dexter & Elton Britt deserve consideration. Wynn Stewart & Dave Dudley were largely responsible for the popularity of the Bakersfield Sound & Trucking sub-genre. No telling what type of career Johnny Horton would have had if he wouldn't have been killed in a drunk driving accident. The three categories are not enough and the election of three a year is not enough. No doubt Ronnie Milsap & Hank Williams Jr. have the careers to merit induction.

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  22. A few thoughts

    Why is Ray Stevens classified as 1970? was his earlier material not on Country radio?

    Of the aprox 25 names considered for the mass induction in 2001, about a quarter of them are still not in. Lets put those folks in to help the backlog.

    Do away with rotating catagories and have the 5 catagories every year.

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    1. Ray Stevens did not hit the Country charts until 1970 with "Everything is Beautiful". I realize he had prior success in the pop field with "Guitarzan" and "Ahab the Arab"..etc.. But I think these categories are based upon your first prominence in Country Music.

      For example, last year Kenny Rogers was inducted in the Modern Category. Say 1970 to 1990. If they would have included his work with the First Edition, prior to 1970 he could have to gone in through the Veterans category.

      Hank Williams, Jr. had his biggest success in the 1980's (Entertainer of the Year..etc).. but his chart success began in 1964. When he is inducted I'm sure it will be through the Veterans category.

      They whole process is rather confusing at times.

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    2. Busgal: I would be interested in knowing who the 25 names considered for the mass induction in 2001 were. I've never been enlighten on that.

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  23. I'd love to see Jim Brown inducted, although it's a nice thought to be inducted with his sisters, but Jim made more of an impact in the country music world as a solo artist, and although Maxine and Bonnie were part of the group and as lovely as they are, in my view they don't warrant and induction, as much as Jim does.

    Dottie West, when will this woman get her long deserved dues, as soon as she died and after the impact of her death, people seemed to just forget about her, and it's very dissapointing that a lot of her 'friends' that are still living have barely even mentioned her or added to her legacy in the 23 years she has been dead. People can say whatever they want about Dottie West but she is very deserving and being deceased should not impact the voters decisions, her accomplishments should, and I'm glad over the past two years people have been taking notice of her again, with the spotlight exhibit etc.

    As for a writer, Well either Dallas Frazier or Hank Cochran nothing else needs to be said about them really. However people have been taking a lot of notice of Red Lane, a good writer but don't know if I would say hall of fame worthy, but I wouldn't be surprised if he makes it in a few years.

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    1. I so beg to differ! Jim Ed's greatest impact on Country Music was definitely with his sisters! The Three Bells is one of the biggest hit singles in the history of popular or country music! They toured the world many times. Their family harmony blend is some of the greatest ever produced and it has been imitated in many of the greatest hits from other artists...Kenny Rogers' "Lucille" comes to mind! They pioneered the music form alongside Jim Reeves, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and so many others. It is a fact that Chet Atkins said they and Jim Reeves were the two acts he enjoyed producing the most! Jim Ed has done some marvelous things to, but his sisters' retirement was for all the right reasons...an admirable move on their parts and had circumstances been different, I have no doubt that Maxine and Bonnie would have continued for decades to make magic with their talented brother! The Browns as a unit should definitely be inducted and soon!

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  24. Jim Ed Brown, Jack Greene, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Alan Jackson and Dottie West all deserve induction as do the Wilburn Bothers. How did Alabama get inducted before the Statler Bothers? How did Dolly get inducted before Porter?

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  25. When I’m looking for the latest country music, I always end up in one spot – 103.1 WIRK. I was even lucky enough to catch up with Keith Van Allen in the streets and got free ‘Rib Round Up’ tickets. Just one of the many events that keep me tuned into www.wirk.com

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