Earlier this week it was announced that Jimmy Dean, Ferlin Husky, Don Williams, and Billy Sherrill were announced as the newest members to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. All are extremely deserving and very worthy candidates. But there are others that should be in as well- and not posthumously.
While I have absolutely no say, I would like to present this week’s top ten list- The All-Time Best Music Acts Deserving To Be In The Country Music Hall-Of-Fame.
10. John Denver- Might as well start with the most controversial first. In 1975, previous Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Charlie Rich set fire to Denver’s winning envelope rather than announce the win. Some considered it a statement against country pop and the Music Row-controlled Nashville Sound. But looking closer, he was one of the top album sellers in the 70’s, won several country music awards, 2 Grammys, and his hits Take Me Home, Rocky Mountain High and Thank God I’m A Country Boy are sing-along standards.
9. Jerry Reed- The CMHOF has a history of inviting comedians and actors (Minnie Pearl) and Jerry Reed belongs in. Jerry Reed, was an country music singer, country guitarist, session musician, songwriter and actor who appeared in over a dozen filmsAs a singer, he may be best known for Amos Moses, and When You're Hot, You're Hot, for which he received a Grammy in 1972 and East Bound and Down, the theme song to the film Smokey and the Bandit in which he portrayed the "Snowman", Cledus Snow.
8. Charlie Daniels- The man who made southern country/rock a new genre, he should be in for his fiddling ability alone. The Devil Went Down To Georgia is quite possibly the most recognizable country song ever recorded- he’s been a music hero for close to 40 years.
7. Ronnie Milsap- One of the top recording artists of the 1970’s and 1980’s, Ronnie Milsap is credited with forty number-one songs on the country charts, third only to George Strait and Conway Twitty. 40. Amazing career.
6. Hank Williams Jr.- He is another long overdue selection. He had two careers, each of them probably worthy of induction. His early standards Eleven Roses are just as HOF-worthy as his later standards like Family Tradition. Put him in with a plaque right next to his father.
5. Oak Ridge Boys- While their history dates back much further, they had a run of twelve years from 1977 to 1989 where they were THE band until they gave way to Alabama. Can anyone NOT sing all the words to their biggest hit Elvira?
4. Reba McEntire- Her box set that came out this last year proves it beyond a shadow of the date- 50 hit singles that are some of this generation’s top songs.
3. Kenny Rogers- I’ve already made my case here. They’ve waited too long already for The Gambler.
2. Jean Shepard- She has been a strong candidate for the past several years, but just can't seem to get the votes to get her in. She had 44 charted hits between 1953 and 1978 and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years. Her first hit, "A Dear John Letter", a 1953 duet with Ferlin Husky, was the first post-World War II record by a woman country artist to sell more than a million copies.
1. Garth Brooks- He’s the youngest of the bunch but has done more single-handedly to raise the popularity of country music more than any other artist since Johnny Cash. And that’s pretty good company. With more albums sold than any other artist EVER, he’s a no-brainer.
Consideration should also given to Jim Ed Brown and The Browns and the Wilburn Brothers. Hopefully, all will eventually be elected.