Inside the Music | Country Music Hall of Fame | Nashville & Beyond | Country

Just as sports have their pantheon of greats, the country-music industry established its own Hall Of Fame in 1961 to honour its most influential figures and deepen public understanding and appreciation of the music’s rich heritage and history.

A Pantheon Of Country Stars

As of 2005, 62 artists and industry leaders – starting with Jimmie Rodgers (1897–1933) and songwriter and music publisher Fred Rose, who both were posthumously inducted in 1961– have been enshrined in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

The Hall Of Fame’s membership spans the many genres and subgenres contained within the broad, loosely defined and somewhat elastic rubric of country music. Its roll call of greats encompasses more than three-quarters of a century, from founding figures like Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family, to contemporary figures like the country-rock band, Alabama. Bluegrass (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe), western music (Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, The Sons Of The Pioneers), western swing (Bob Wills), honky-tonk (Floyd Tillman, Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, Kitty Wells, George Jones), old-time music (The Carter Family, Uncle Dave Macon, Grandpa Jones), outstanding songwriters (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Harlan Howard, Cindy Walker) and country comedy (Rod Brasfield, The Duke Of Paducah, Minnie Pearl) and rockabilly (Elvis Presley) are just some of the styles represented in the Hall Of Fame.

Also included are a number of producers, songwriters, executives, entrepreneurs and broadcasters who have had a lasting creative or commercial impact in shaping the music and the underlying industry that makes it, promotes it and distributes it.

Pride Of Nashville

The Hall Of Fame was created by the Country Music Association, the country-music industry’s leading professional organization. It went public in 1967, when it opened as a museum and tourist attraction in Nashville. It has since become a national tourist destination for thousands of country fans.

The Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum operates under the non-profit aegis of the Country Music Foundation. The foundation also maintains an extensive music archive and research library, along with its own publishing arm and record label, through which it has released a number of valuable historic musical compilations and book-length histories.

Annual selections to the Country Music Hall Of Fame are chosen through a formal process. First, a panel of a dozen industry leaders submits a list of nominees to a group of 300 electors, all of whom are members of the CMA. Final decisions for each year’s inductions are made by the electors. Each year, anywhere from one to four new members are elected to the Hall Of Fame. The only exception was 1963 when none of the nominees garnered sufficient votes for induction.

Each new inductee is honored with a bas-relief portrait cast in bronze that is added to the Hall Of Fame display in the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, in...

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen


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