Double the Size ... Double the Honor Roll, Too...
April 25, 2014
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville.
The highest honor in Country music is getting into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Only 124 names on that honor roll.
The Hall of Fame building just doubled in size ... the Hall of Fame might want to look at a 10-year program to double the number of people in the Hall of Fame rotunda!!
Willie Nelson and many others think that list should be expanded a little more. At the current rate, many legendary artists will never get that call. Maybe after they are dead 20 years, but what good is that?
Honor people while they are alive so their fans, friends and co-workers can officially tell them how important they were to Country music and to art in America, for that matter.
Some of the 124 names in the Hall don't measure up to some of the folks on the outside. Simple as that. Politics ... maybe.
They are passed over by accident ... the committee simply doesn't want to deal with them ... who knows how a John Hartford is not in the Hall of Fame? Maybe you can see that Jerry Lee Lewis over the years is not house-trained. But can you not see his role in music history? The Million Dollar Quartet? How can we get to this point and not have Jerry Lee, who was around when this whole thing really took off? If Elvis gets in, Jerry Lee should be in. BOTH deserve it.
How did all these years pass and Hank Cochran NOT get in anyway? He died a few years ago ... a shame he was not around to hear how much he was loved...
Let's figure a way to put some of these legends in the Hall before it's too late. The first step was getting Ronnie Milsap. He's so amazing. 100% deserving! A true hero to so many.
The Oak Ridge Boys on my very short list. Mac Davis and Ray Stevens. Anne Murray, Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams Jr.
That's a bunch right there ... and add Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs and Alan Jackson. They are going in at some point; why not now? Dottie West and Jerry Reed are gone but not forgotten.
I'm sure that would cause heart attacks in the hallowed halls of Music Row, but 12-15 over the next three years would make a lot of sense. It is the right thing to do. No sense in looking back at who they did do; let's just look ahead and get these stewards of Country music into the Hall where they belong.
Soon you will have to look at artists not currently eligible, but future Hall of Famers such as Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. Taking in three names a year is never going to get justice accomplished.
The Hall of Fame should be the thinnest of air ... a rare jewel. That should never change. But this category thing stinks when it can leave legendary performers and songwriters on the outside.
Country music is now bunch bigger than in the first 10 years of the Hall ... that's a huge understatement. Times are different.
I just thought of the great songwriters who are non-Hall of Famers and that's a huge list ... you could do one a year for a while and not catch up. Mac Davis, John D Loudermilk , Dean Dillon, on and on.
Country music is a business of billion-dollar importance. The Hall of Fame structure is monumental. The Hall of Fame membership should grow in relation to how it just doubled in size .... the inductions must grow, too. From three to six at minimum ... Double the building size ... double the hall membership...
It won't water things down ... you can always go back to three after, say, 10 years ... One of my mentors, Buddy Killen, deserves to get in, but how does he get in before some of the legends he published and recorded. The great producers ... this is making me crazy the more I write.
Maybe you build a section to honor each category ... I'm sure great minds can figure this out. In the meantime, the industry and the fans need to speak out. Speak out for their Hall of Famers. Getting a plaque on that wall is a beautiful thing. Getting while still alive even greater!