Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Top Tens- The All-Time Best Music Acts Deserving To Be NEXT Inductees In The Country Music Hall-Of-Fame

Earlier this year, it was announced that Reba McEntire, Bobby Braddock, and Jean Shepard were announced as the newest members to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame- the class of 2011.

Shepard had been a strong candidate for the past several years, but just couldn’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.

For Reba McEntire, her box set that came out a couple years back prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she’s worthy- 50 hit singles that are some of this generation’s top songs. Some of her best known songs include “You Lie,” “Rumor Has It,” “Fancy,” “Is There Life Out There,” “The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia,” “Take It Back,” “The Heart Won’t Lie” (a duet with Vince Gill), and “Does He Love You” (a duet with Linda Davis, which a CMA as well a Grammy Award).

Braddock is known for classics like “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” to more modern hits like “I Wanna Talk About Me” and the recent “People Are Crazy.”

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 in the matter, I would like to present this month’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. (tie) 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.

8. (tie) The Judds- As one of the most successful acts in country music history, Wynonna and Naomi Judd won five Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and eight Country Music Association awards. The duo also charted twenty-five singles on the country music charts between 1983 and 2000, fourteen of which went to Number One and six more of which made Top Ten on the same chart.

7. Randy Travis- Travis has recorded more than a dozen important studio albums and single-handedly started the neo-traditionalist movement in the 80’s. He charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, of which sixteen have reached Number One.

6. Dallas Frazier- Frazier is the songwriter’s songwriter.His tunes were recorded by George Jones (who recorded an entire album of Frazier's songs in 1968), Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jack Greene, Connie Smith (who also recorded an entire album of Frazier's songs in 1972), Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee, Carola, Charley Pride, Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, Elvis Presley, Moe Bandy, Roy Head, Rodney Crowell, Dan McCafferty, and Ronnie Hawkins. Many of the songs became hits into the 1980s; examples include the Oak Ridge Boys cover of "Elvira" and Emmylou Harris's version of "Beneath Still Waters". Anne Murray with Glen Campbell, George Strait, Randy Travis, and Patty Loveless have all also recorded Frazier tunes.

5. (tie) 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?

5. (tie) Connie Smith- Still possessing one of Nashville’s most beautiful voices to this day, Smith’s recording of “Once A Day” became the first debut single in country music history by a female artist to reach number one, a record that Smith maintained for the next 25 years. She was a fixture on country radio in the second half of the 60’s and most of the 70’s.

4. 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.

3. 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.

2. 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.

1. Kenny Rogers- I’ve already made my case here. They’ve waited too long already for The Gambler.

Consideration should also given to Jim Ed Brown and The Browns,  the Wilburn Brothers, Paul Overstreet, Alison Krauss & Union Station (someday), Crystal Gayle, Anne Murray, Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn. Hopefully, all will eventually be elected.


  1. Great article, tho I think it may be a lil premature about Randy Travis, he is still bringing the juice, and I can see him coming in a lil later after he produces some more hits :) But I totally agree

  2. Don't forget Vince Gill!

  3. Vince Gill has already been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

  4. Add to that list some of the folks that helped shape the California country music scene : Ralph Mooney, Wynn Stewart, Skeets McDonald, Johnny & Jonie Mosby, Billy Mize & "The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band In America" - The Maddox Brothers & Rose.