Into the Circle: The Country Music Hall of Fame Changes Criteria

halloffamelogoThe Country Music Association, mere weeks after inducting its 2009 class, has announced a change in the Hall of Fame criteria. Per the CMA website:

Three inductees will continue to be announced as new members of the Country Music Hall of Fame annually, each selected from a different category.  Beginning in 2010, the categories will be renamed and defined as follows:

  • Veterans Era – This category will be for professionals that have been in the industry longer than 25 years. It combines the former “Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975” (which was voted on annually) and “Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II” (which was voted on every third year in rotation) categories into one.
  • Modern Era – This category will be for professionals that have been in the industry at least 20 years, but no more than 25 years, and takes the place of the former annual “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975-Present” slot.
  • Rotating Categories – The third slot will continue to be a rotating category, with each group in the spotlight every third year. The Recording and/or Touring Musician and Non Performer slots will remain, joined by a new Songwriter category.

The Modern Era category seems far too limiting, especially given the numerous artists and industry insiders that are fully deserving of this honor. The change does present Randy Travis, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson the opportunity to be inducted within the next two to three years, but also leaves legends such as Connie Smith, Jean Shepard and the Oak Ridge Boys to “compete” with newer acts such as Reba McEntire and Hank Williams, Jr. for one solitary spot each year.

Eventually, all of those artists appear to be locks for the Hall of Fame, but, as My Kind of Country alluded to earlier in the week, very few artists in modern-day country music will truly be remembered. Here’s a list of ten contemporary artists who could make the Hall of Fame one day. Although their careers aren’t complete, they have the potential to be lauded for their talent in the coming years. Sound off in the comments with your opinions on who is in, who is out and who could still make a case for induction. Feel free to add any other artists you’d deem worthy. This is not my judgment of who should/should not be included, but a random listing of ten artists who could at least present interesting cases in, say, 2020.  Feedback it up. (For a glance at near-future candidates, see Six Pack: Hall of Fame Inductees. Barbara Mandrell, Roy Clark and Charlie McCoy are the 2009 honorees.)

  • Clint Black
  • Rosanne Cash
  • Faith Hill
  • Kathy Mattea
  • Martina McBride
  • Tim McGraw
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Pam Tillis
  • Shania Twain
  • Dwight Yoakam


  1. I have to go with Trisha Yearwood. She is just so consistent with her quality, and some truly outstanding songs, she definitely deserves it.

    A case could definitely be made for Patty Loveless too.

  2. Agreed. I intentionally picked ten artists who are “hugging” the dividing line just to see what reaction would be. The rule seems so goofy because 20-25 years is a small window of time and the term “in the industry” can be twisted any number of ways. (Loveless, for example, was “in the industry” in the mid-70s when she toured with the Wilburns.) The new criteria ensures that the contemporary stars have a better opportunity to be inducted before a number of classic-era stars, which is unfortunate. Anyway, Loveless and Yearwood will go in the HOF one day, no doubt in my mind.

  3. The 20-25 category is pretty silly, more divisions would have been nice.

    I guess here are a few more artists, some iffy, some not:

    -Lee Ann Womack? I don’t think she’s had enough hits, but if she continues the quality of her last two albums, she’ll be a sure shot.

    -Maybe someday the Dixie Chicks when people have gotten over the incident, but since they seem to have stalled indefinitely for now, it’s not looking good for their career to continue at all. They probably wouldn’t want to be in the HoF anyway.

    -Toby Keith probably will have a very good chance.

    -I agree with Martina, she just needs to take more risks, as you said.

  4. Am really opposed to the Modern Era category. It will put some in far too soon and also at the expense of ones who came before them. Also, has Garth even been in the business 20 years? Remember, he did retire. Hit songs are not the main criteria for the HOF. Read the criteria on the HOF site. It takes a lot more than hit songs to be in the HOF and many artists with hits do not meet the other criteria. I do not undestand the rush to get certain artists in. I think going in too soon cheapens the honor..a lot.

  5. I can see the criteria changing in a few years when the Modern Era is unable to produce enough worthy candidates. Meanwhile, it’s going to take forever for Connie Smith, Jean Shepard, Jimmy Dean, Oak Ridge Boys, etc. if they are only taking one a year from that category.

  6. As I said over on The 9513, I think the 20-25 year window was designated for certain artists.

    I like your list – and I think all of them are nearly Hall-worthy, or could be by 2020 as you said. But I would venture to say that the career of Kenny Rogers is pretty much over as far as him accomplishing anything more than maybe some critical acclaim. And from what I’ve read about his latest album, he’s aiming more for radio airplay than the kind of artistry that draws rave reviews.

    But I totally agree with Rosanne Cash, (she has just as many #1 country hits as her father, btw) Tim McGraw, Dwight Yoakam, and Shania Twain (though she’ll have to wait a while) – all 4 have contributed enough already for induction in my opinion.

  7. This new category is crap, but then again….welcome to Nashville.

    I agree with everyone else, Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood are sure fire bets. I am pretty sure Martina and Tim will make it in even though I dont believe they deserve it. I am not sure if Pam Tillis has the success to get into the Hall of Fame although she does have the support of her peers.

    Patty Loveless helped enter the country tradionalist into the modern era in the 90s when she took country hits to the top of the charts in a time when the more adult contempary style was taking over country. She really managed a perfect balance of the two. Never drastically crossing either line. She is one of those artists similar to that of Vince Gill that showed the strong respect to her roots, it was be a crime on music row if this relative of country queen Loretta Lynn was passed over for a Hall of Fame Honor

    Trisha Yearwood has sold over 15 million albums worldwide and only Reba McEntire has a more impressive resume when you look at the 90’s as a whole decade. She helped take country to countries it had never been before. Thailand, Mylasia, India, Ireland, and Australia all saw her Songbook go Gold at least among many other over seas countries. In 1996 she closed the Olympics giving country music a world wide exposure. She has a strongly consistent catalog that few other artists match and I am pretty sure she is nowhere near done. In her 17 years she has yet to turn out a weak album and now without main stream pressures she may even be able to put more into her works of art.

  8. I wish the CMA would adopt a Hall of Fame policy more closely aligned with what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame does. My suggestion would be:

    1. Inductees become eligible 25 years after their first professional credit.

    2. The five highest vote-getters each year are inducted into the Hall of Fame, with a mandatory number of votes required (say, 60%). If less than five on the ballot meet the cut-off, then less than five are inducted.

    What I like about the Rock Hall is that the most significant artists are inducted as soon as they are eligible (In recent years, this has been U2, Madonna, and Metallica.) However, less significant but still worthy artists are also eventually inducted over time. Wanda Jackson is going in this year. She’s been eligible as long as Elvis Presley, but didn’t warrant going in the same year as him.

    With inductees limited to two acts per year, many of the old greats will never get in, and there will be a backlog for the newer ones as well.

    Of the ten acts you listed above, the only obvious Hall of Fame inductees in my view are Kenny Rogers, Dwight Yoakam and Tim McGraw, though a case could be made for all of them.

    I love me some Pam Tillis, but I don’t see how she warrants Hall of Fame induction. I’ll cheer loudly if it happens, but I don’t think she had that level of impact. It doesn’t help that she’s of the superstar generation.

  9. I thought that at one time it was a requirement for artists to have been active for at least 20 years before they could be inducted into the HOF, but I must have been mistaken about that.

    What they should have done is open things up to allow for more than one veteran to be inducted each year. Jean Shepard is 75 years old. It would be nice if she were inducted while she’s still able to enjoy it somewhat. I always thought it was a terrible shame that Tammy Wynette died without ever knowing that she had been inducted.

    As for your list of possible future inductees, I’m not sure I can see any of them make into the HOF except for Kenny Rogers and Dwight Yoakam. Randy Travis should definitely be added to the list.

  10. I would say Rosanne Cash should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame; her track record speaks volumes. And besides, how many father/daughter teams are there in that hallowed institution?

    Trisha probably deserves to be inducted at some point. However, with Dolly and Emmylou in there, I’d like to see Linda Ronstadt in there as well, to make that vaunted Trio permanently wedded together (and to embarrass the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bigwigs, who still haven’t see fit to enshrine Linda in Cleveland!).

    And Kevin: given that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has inducted rap artists over the last several years, I would be very cautious about adopting their twisted criteria to Nashville. We all might actually live to see Big & Rich enshrined.

  11. I am still wondering how long Garth Brooks has really been in the business? I do not know how long Randy Travis has been but I know he appeared on Nashville Now in January of 1984 so this should let him out of the Modern Era category…over 25 years.

    Jean Shepherd angered the industry years ago and she still talks about it in her shows today and she says this will keep her out of the HOF. There is some criteria for the HOF that includes behavior that has affected the industry, etc. And, I suspect this is what will keep Tanya Tucker out.

    Many of the artists I have seen mentioned here I do not think are HOF material. Not everyone is even if they have had a very successful career. I think Kenny Rogers might get in. He has certainly contributed enough but his other antics could keep him out. It does not mean a thing that he no longer has success in recording, etc. That is not what the HOF is about. The HOF is more that your peak years are gone but you are still a factor in what the industry became and still remembered for your contributions, etc. Oak Ridge Boys, yes. Connie Smith, no. I love her to pieces but I really do not think she has made the HOF type contributions. Lynn Anderson, yes, except she has some baggage as well.

    Hard to judge most of the artists currently in the Modern Era. Some of them had some years of popularity but it did not last long and this is not what the HOF stands for. Ones like Clint Black fall into that group for sure. Alan Jackson has had staying power…for sure…and he is really the only one I can name in the Modern Era that I think would eventually be deserving of the HOF.
    I would probably go with Randy Travis but as I said about he is over the 25 years so he should have a long wait.

    I usually agree with most of the new inductees each year but there are times when I do not. I definitely question EmmyLou Harris. And, I question George Strait as well. ALabama and Gill, yet, but they got in far too soon.

    I really agree with the three inductees for this year…Clark, Mandrell and McCoy. Boy, the impact both Clark and Mandrell have had on coutnry music. Both should have been in the HOF before now. Of course, the HOF is sort of anti female so it is a miracle when a female does get in. 108 members now and only 11 or 12 females!!

    However, I am in favor of keeping the HOF selective. Not everyone belongs in it. I am not in favor of putting in more artists per year. If there is a large group of nonperformers not yet in, like songwriters (I just do not know if there is), then I do think they should put these people in more than once every three years.

    I also wish the new members were still announced on the CMA Awards show. Let the fans share in this time with them. By announcing the new inductees separately and then holding the private, invitation only Medallion event for them, the fans are really left out of sharing in this moment. Sitting in the audience at the awards show and being briefly mentioned is not meaningful to the fans. Keep the special Medallion Event but also make a big deal out of the HOF on the Awards show. It is the highest honor bestowed by the CMA and many would say it is the highest honor for someone in country music. I know the Pioneer Award is the top ACM honor but, to me, it does not have the same significance as the CMA HOF. However, it will gain in stature, I think, if the HOF keeps cheapening is HOF honor.

  12. The CMA seems to have avoided inducting acts that lean significantly pop unless their icon status is enough to outweigh it (as in Barbara Mandrell’s case). I think Kenny Rogers is a lock for induction sooner or later, but everyone else on that list is iffy. Dwight Yoakam’s commercial success might be a bit too slim, and beyond that we’re basically talking about some very successful artists whose music has usually leaned pop to varying extents (aside from Clint Black, who I’m not sure has made a very lasting impact on the genre).

    I would still be surprised if Tim McGraw didn’t get in eventually, though, and I do think Dwight’s got a good shot as well. Martina’s fate is too soon to predict. I have no idea if Shania Twain even has a shot. Honestly, she’s such an unusual figure in country music history (though a talented one, in my opinion) that it’s kind of hard to imagine her fitting in among the HOF crowd. Ditto to Rosanne Cash, though to a much lesser extent.

  13. Not a fan of the criteria for Modern Era, with it’s five year window and all..

    And there’s no way Faith Hill and Martina McBride should be inducted before Patty Loveless…although a case could be made for their eventual inclusion, especially for Martina.

    Marty Stuart recently introduced Patty at an Opry performance, and basically gave her a vote of confidence.. “mark my words” I believe he said, while predictiong that she would one day become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    But alas, these matters are in the hands of mere mortals, and no degree of artistic merit is an absolute gaurentee of eventual induction.

  14. @ Erik,

    I completely agree with the inductions of rap artists into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rock & Roll has historically been a mish-mash of several different genres which are mutually influential. Rock & Roll the concept and rock the radio format/genre are not the same thing.

    When we begin to move from the eighties to the nineties, there are far more hip-hop acts that have been influential than rock bands, so that’s a shift that must continue to accurately reflect the development of Rock & Roll as a cultural body.

    I agree with you about Linda Ronstadt and the country hall. She’s one of only two glaring omissions among the females at this point, in my view (the other being Reba McEntire). The non-negotiables in my mind – the women who absolutely must enter the Hall – are Ronstadt, McEntire, the Judds, Tanya Tucker, Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood, in that order.

    Other women in history, be it Wanda Jackson, Connie Smith, Jean Shepard, Rosanne Cash, Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis, Faith Hill, Shania Twain or anyone else I’m missing, would be nice to see and deserving of the honor, but not absolute musts for the Hall to maintain its integrity.

  15. Not necessarily what i hope will happen, but what I think will.

    Definitely in at some point: Reba, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Oak Ridge Boys, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers
    Probably in: Martina Mcbride, Tim McGraw, Patty Lovelss, Brooks and Dunn, The Judds, Vince Gill
    Coin Toss: Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, Toby Keith

  16. @Chris D.: I would love to see Womack eventually, but she’s going to have to maintain some semblance of popularity for a good 10-15 years more. I’ve said before that I feel she’d be a top-shelf artist in an earlier era and she suffers from bad timing.

    @J.R. Journey: Kenny Rogers’ commercial stats are probably too much to pass up, but that would be a hard vote for me to cast. I’d likely say “yes.”

    @Razor X: You bring up an excellent point; if worthy (and if at all possible), I feel that artists should be tapped for the HOF while they are still alive. I’m afraid the new rules are going to present a problem for the veterans in that regard. I left Travis off the list b/c I feel he’s a sure thing (like Loveless and Yearwood).

    @Erik North: Rosanne Cash and Linda Ronstadt. Toughies. I would honestly vote “yes,” but would hold off for a few years until some of the veterans are inducted. Ronstadt should be in the R & R Hall of Fame before the CMHOF (much like Wanda Jackson, who I think just falls short of the CMHOF), but her contributions to country are fairly significant. Cash has wandered off from “country,” but she was arguably the 2nd most successful female of the ’80s behind Reba McEntire. She had a short commercial peak (about 8 years) compared to some others, but she was a strong artist in a wishy-washy decade for the genre.

    @Kevin: I agree, except for two names. Shepard was the first real “solo” female artist that rose to prominence. Her career wasn’t as commercially viable as others, but she paved the way for the women to come (Loretta, etc.) Connie Smith wasn’t quite as trailblazing as Shepard, but her voice is one of the best ever; she relinquished the spotlight in the early ’70s, but I think her peak period earns her a spot in the HOF soon.

    Fun fact: (I just found this) Smith, Yearwood and Loveless all have 20 top ten singles.

  17. I’d be interested to hear the case for Linda Ronstadt’s induction into the Country Hall. The Rock Hall is an absolute necessity for her, no doubt, but I’m not as well acquainted with the impact she’s had on country music as a whole, though Kevin’s 100 Greatest Women feature on her was a good intro on the subject.

    That reminds me – I would really, really like to see Mary Chapin Carpenter inducted someday.

  18. Linda Ronstadt is more of an “indirect” country artist in that her main contribution to the genre is the influence she had on the generation of female country performers that followed her, as opposed to directly impacting it through her own music. I’m not sure that’s enough to qualify her for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. And I don’t see how Mary Chapin Carpenter qualifies under any criteria. I like a lot of her music, but she just didn’t have that big an impact.

  19. @Jewels: I agree that the bar should be high for inducting anyone into the Hall of Fame, which is why I don’t think a lot of the names that have been mentioned should be included.

    With respect your question about Garth — he released his first album in 1989. I assume your question about his eligibility has to do with the fact that he “retired” before he’d spent 20 years in the business. But remember that he’s had a few singles released to radio over the past few years, so it can probably be argued that he’s still an active artist.

    I wasn’t aware that there was a personal conduct criteria for HOF induction. I see no reason why Tanya Tucker should be disqualified when people like Glen Campbell, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash — who were hardly choirboys — were allowed in. Patsy Cline was no angel, either, for that matter.

    I suppose we all have our own opinions — and biases for and against certain artists. I find it interesting that you don’t think Connie Smith qualifies for induction but Lynn Anderson does. I would have argued exactly the opposite.

    As far as some of the names mentioned, here are my thoughts about whether or not they should be inducted:

    * Clint Black — maybe
    * Rosanne Cash — maybe
    * Faith Hill — no
    * Kathy Mattea — no
    * Martina McBride — no
    * Tim McGraw — no
    * Kenny Rogers — yes
    * Pam Tillis — no
    * Shania Twain — no
    * Dwight Yoakam — maybe
    * Jean Shepard – yes
    * Connie Smith – yes
    * Lynn Anderson – no
    * Garth Brooks — yes
    * Tanya Tucker — yes, as soon as possible
    * Reba McEntire — yes
    * The Judds — no (Wynonna as a solo artist, maybe)
    * Alan Jackson — yes
    * Toby Keith — no
    * Mary Chapin Carpenter — no
    * Patty Loveless — yes
    * Trisha Yearwood — yes
    * Randy Travis — yes
    * Brooks & Dunn — maybe
    * The Oak Ridge Boys — yes

  20. In Carpenter’s case, as in Ronstadt’s, you’d have to look more at the influence than the numbers. I think MCC was the figurehead of the “independent woman” movement in the 90’s and stands as a very distinct figure in country music history.

    But it is a bit of a harder case to make, certainly. I don’t think it’s at all imperative that she be inducted – I just think it’d be cool. I do think it’s important to remember that not everyone who has made the hall has been a George Strait-sized icon. Whether that’s a good thing or not, of course, is up for debate.

    And yes, Tanya Tucker definitely needs to get in within the next few years here.

  21. Besides being a strong-willed, opinionated woman in such a male-dominated industry in the ’50s (and beyond), she formed the Association of Country Entertainers in the backlash of pop-country that came to a head with Olivia Newton-John’s 1974 CMA victory. Is this supportable evident for her exclusion? No, but it’s probably what Jewels is referring to.

    I agree 100% with Razor’s list if I had to vote today, except for maybe the Wynonna/Judds entry. I think, if anything, the HOF would induct them both to acknowledge their career as a duo along with Wy’s solo endeavors. I don’t see Wynonna going in alone.

    Razor, on your “no’s,” do you see any of them turning into a “yes” somewhere down the line?

  22. This is pretty important. The criteria has been reworded, btw: “Modern Era – An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 20 years after they first achieve national prominence. They will remain eligible for that category for the next 25 years. This replaces the former “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present” category.”

  23. I most definitely see the Judds making it in before Wynonna makes it in alone, though I can see Wy making it on her own at some point.

    I can’t imagine that Tanya Tucker would be excluded, or at least I hope she wouldn’t be, because of past behavior. As Razor said, she’s participated in no more unsavory activities than many of the men who’ve already been inducted. It wouldn’t be the first time, however, that the country music industry held a double standard for males and females.

  24. Interesting discussion. Thoughts on those mentioned.

    * Clint Black — Initially I thought, no, but I changed my mind. I think based on his songwriting credits and skill as an instrumentalist he’s going to get in eventually. I think he’ll be waiting for a while though. His time of greatest impact wasn’t long lived enough to make his induction super necessary though.

    * Rosanne Cash — 50/50 here. She has the critical praise and industry respect to get in, but I don’t think her impact has been great on the genre.

    * Faith Hill — No or at least not for a very long time. Though I could see her being one of the types who gains legend/icon status in the future. She (along with Martina and Shania) will be repeatedly be sited as influential by the new crop of pop-country girls.

    * Kathy Mattea — Don’t see it happening. Her period of influence was so short. What 5 years give or take?

    * Martina McBride — She’ll get in. If for no other reason than she was the only constant female voice on the radio in the early 2000s. Her impact is questionable yes, but she was THE female artist of the first half of this decade and it came after she had already been grinding for 10 years.

    * Tim McGraw — Yes. No question.

    * Kenny Rogers — Yes.

    * Pam Tillis — Won’t happen. Like Mattea her period of success was short and her impact was minimal. Love her but don’t know if she’s “hall worthy”.

    * Shania Twain — Yes. She’s pop yes, but her impact has been more significant than any woman since Reba. If Mandrell gets in, Shania gets in, and like Hill her status will only grow with time.

    * Dwight Yoakam — See Rosanne Cash. 50/50 for me.

    * Garth Brooks — Shoo-in.

    * Tanya Tucker — Yes and soon. Her rep is what it is and it’s part of her iconography (see “Redneck Woman”). Think voters will put aside that and put her in for her longevity.

    * Reba McEntire — Shoo-in. Induct her NOW.

    * The Judds — Yes. Think they will get in, but don’t think Wynonna as a solo artist will or should get in.

    * Alan Jackson — Definintely. Should follow Garth only in terms of Modern era country men.

    * Toby Keith — Not yet. Here’s one where the rep could affect him I think. And he’s not held in high regard critically.

    * Mary Chapin Carpenter — Love her, but no. See Pam Tillis.

    * Patty Loveless — Yes. Definitely. Should come after Reba, Tanya and The Judds in terms of women.

    * Trisha Yearwood — Yes, immediately following Loveless.

    * Randy Travis — He’ll get in, but will be waiting for a while. He’ll go just before Clint Black probably. Though recently I feel his level of respect has grown (the gospel comebacks, the Carrie cover, etc.)

    * Brooks & Dunn — Definitely will get in.

    *Dixie Chicks – Definitely deserved. Hard to say what reaction to them will be upon their eligibility. I can think of no reason why they shouldln’t go in.

    Others that was debating in my head while going through this:

    Diamond Rio
    Ricky Scaggs
    Travis Tritt
    Alison Krauss
    Hank Williams, Jr.

  25. “Razor, on your “no’s,” do you see any of them turning into a “yes” somewhere down the line?”

    I’m on the fence about Martina — she could be a “yes” but in order to do that she needs to get of the Hallmark mode she’s been in for the past couple of years and do something rootsy and creative.

    I’m on the fence about the Judds as well. If they’d remained active as a duo for more than 8 years, I’d probably say yes to them. Shania might get in on the strength of her commercial success, although I feel she falls short from an artistic standpoint.

    The rest of my no’s are past their commercial peaks; I don’t see them doing anything profound enough to turn them into yes’s.

  26. “Dixie Chicks – Definitely deserved. Hard to say what reaction to them will be upon their eligibility. I can think of no reason why they shouldln’t go in.”

    If Jean Shepard is excluded because she angered the industry, then there’s no way the Chicks will get in. Again, I think they are past their peak as a mainstream country act and their time at the top was too short-lived.

  27. This is a facinating, well thought-out thread.

    Thanks for the update and clarification on the Modern category criteria Blake, Yeah the 25 year window after 20 years is certainly preferable to the five year window!

    Razor and Tony C especially, very well considered lists and I agree with most of your assessments.

    And Razor, I think your take on Martina’s prospects is pretty much spot-on, with the need for her to do something rootsy and more creative. But don’t forget her “Timeless” album, very well done and it shows she can be as Country as she pleases. I just wish she’d work those real Country roots into more of her contemporary material.

  28. Oh, and I’d give Dwight Yoakam a 100% “should” if not “will”..

    and I agree with Blake that the Judds as a duo should preceed Wynonna as a solo artist, and I’m not even sure if Wy should get in as a solo act either.

    And I think Mary Chapin Carpenter deserves full consideration at the very least.

    And I’d put Patty Loveless in ahead of some others mentioned as to who should preceed her, but that’s my bias..I think a good case can be made for the order of induction for those others as well.

  29. “But don’t forget her “Timeless” album, very well done and it shows she can be as Country as she pleases.”

    I haven’t forgotten it, Steve. It’s Martina at her best. But unfortunately, it’s been all downhill since she released that album. One wonders how the same woman who sang “Cheap Whiskey”, “Independence Day” and “A Broken Wing” is putting out such pabulum now. I have to wonder if it’s because she’s now 42 years old and afraid to rock the boat, lest the powers that be at radio cool to her.

  30. I have taken baths deeper than Martina McBride, and I agree I don’t see her deserving to get in with much of her material from the past 8 or 9 years.

    And has all hope been lost in Dottie West ever being inducted? :(

  31. With respect to whether Linda should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame–as I mentioned in my Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists segment of two weeks ago, I believe that you have to look at the fact that her impact on the genre is not simply in how many hit singles she has had, but really in the complete albums themselves, which charted very high on the country album charts (four of them getting to #1). It’s true that she has never put herself strictly in the category of a country singer, but at least she has been a straight-shooter about that fact.

    But like her good pal Emmylou, Linda has a deep appreciation for, and a true understanding of, country music and its roots, and has explored all its various incarnations in and out even through her other musical explorations. She has shown that she cares about the form, that her crossover popularity is not based solely on commercial gain but on a deep love of the genre, and that country music doesn’t have to be only for reactionaries, right-wingers, and rednecks. This is my particular advocacy for her at least being considered for the CMHOF and, as I’ve said, to force the issue with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well.

  32. Good point Razor, Yeah, Martina has mastered the “Greeting Card Lyrics” school of Country music, and it’s a shame, because she is so much better than that, as Timeless proves.

    I’m afraid Sara Evans has been going down that same path, but I am hopeful her next album will pull her out of the nosedive, artistically anyway if not commmercially..It’s almost as though Sara, who started out so strong, decided to follow Faith and Martina over the cliff to mediocrity, with some notable high quality exceptions of material here and there. (some stuff on Real Fine Place, for example) I just think that if Sara wants to get anywhere near the Hall of Fame, she needs to re-connect with her roots in a big and consistent way. I know Sara hasn’t been cited here as a canditate for the Hall of Fame, and I bring her up because I believe she has the potential, the pure Country voice and deep Country roots to become one of the timeless greats, and it’s heartbreaking that she has been settling for a safer and more mundane path.

    And Erik, you are an excellent advocate for Linda Ronstadt, and are helping me to appreciate her more and more as a Country artist!

  33. The CMHOF has been trying to get more inclusive. These catagories are not etched in stone – they could very well change again in a year or two.

    Halls of Fame, whether entertainment based or sports based will always be the subject of discussion and disagreement, which ultimately is to the good since creates interest. Whether it’s Bert Blyleven in baseball, or Kenny Rogers in country music there will always be those individuals “on the bubble”

    As for names bandied about here here’s my two cents worth:
    Clint Black — maybe
    Rosanne Cash — maybe (she may have as many #1s as her dad, but he had many more weeks at #1)
    Faith Hill — no
    Kathy Mattea — no
    Martina McBride — borderline no
    Tim McGraw — borderline yes
    Kenny Rogers — yes
    Pam Tillis — no
    Shania Twain — no, but could get to yes
    Dwight Yoakam — no
    Jean Shepard – yes
    Connie Smith – yes
    Lynn Anderson – no
    Garth Brooks — yes
    Tanya Tucker — yes
    Reba McEntire — yes
    The Judds — no
    Alan Jackson — yes
    Toby Keith — probably yes
    Mary Chapin Carpenter — no
    Patty Loveless — borderline yes
    Trisha Yearwood — yes
    Randy Travis — yes
    Kenny Chesney – yes, when eligible
    Brooks & Dunn — yes
    The Oak Ridge Boys — yes
    Don Williams – borderline yes
    T G Shepperd – borderline no
    Earl Thomas Conley – borderline no
    John Conlee – borderline no
    Dottie West – no
    Jack Greene – borderline no
    Freddie Hart – borderline no
    Bobby Bare – yes
    Linda Ronstadt – no – not enough of a country music career
    comics Mike Snider & Jerry Clower are both likely to get in eventually

    I can’t recall if Hank Jr is in or not. If not, he’ll get there eventually

  34. @Paul: Patty Loveless is just a borderline yes?

    @Steve: I was just listening to some tracks from Martina’s new album on her MySpace page. As I expected, it’s more overproduced pop.

  35. I’d put Patty in but I’m afraid she may get overlooked . She’s a very good, but not legendary vocalist and I wouldn’t describe her as especially influential. She had an 8 yr run at or near the top of the charts but many of those noit enshrined had longer runs

    Lynn Anderson had a more successful chart career, about nine years at or near the top (including a major pop hit) and yet I have her as a “No”

  36. I see Patty as sort of an Emmylou Harris type. She’s maintained her artistic integrity and earned the respect of her peers, never “selling out” for wider commercial appeal. She’s the torch-bearer for traditional female country singers for her generation and I think that will earn her admission to the HOF. Lynn Anderson, on the other hand, would likely be forgotten today were it not for “Rose Garden”.

    That’s my take, anyway. Who knows what political forces may be in place to influence these decisions.

  37. For those not familiar with the HOF criteria that is used, go to the HOF website and read it. Several different things are listed, with one listed as most important. (Hit songs is not even mentioned.) Personal conduct is not affected IF it did not have an impact on country music, the industry, etc. If ones personal conduct did extend over into that, then it does. Look at the impact what the Dixie Chicks have done on a personal level…it affected the industry. And Natalie kept continuing it. This kind of thing would easily fit the personal conduct criteria to keep one out.

    The criteria for the HOF is not like voting for fav vocalist or Entertainer of the Year. And, it should not be. These categories reward the songs/hits though I think Entertainer should include more than it does.

    The earlier females in country music did not have the opportunities the females who came later have had. So, the accomplishments of these earlier females cannot be compared to those who came later..and should not be.

    Jean Shepherd was behind ACE but I was not really referring to that. She has made all sorts of comments on the Opry over the years that have angered the industry. She has done it other places as well but I am sure the Opry is the biggie.

    Conway Twitty angered the industry…angered it big, big time. Go back over the CMA Awards and look for the recognition he received (other than with Loretta). Yes, he is in the HOF but only after he passed away and many were not happy with that simply because they looked at it…you ignore COnway in life and expect us to shout for joy that you recognize him now. Many who knew him say he would not have been pleased to get into the HOF as he did.

    Anyhow, SHepherd affected the industry….she says she did. She fits that criteria for the HOF to keep her out. And, Tanya Tucker did as well. Willie Nelson has not. Tom T. Hall apparently has not. It is a fine line and can be interpreted differently by different people.

    I was actually thinking 1989 for Garth Brooks and I know that 2009 makes 20 years since 1989 but he has not been in the industry for all those 20 years. When an artist retires they do not include those retirement years in the number of years they have been in the business. Barbara Mandrell was in the industry 38 years. If you were to include the number of years since she retired in 1997 that 38 years would be a lot higher. She does not pretend to include those years. Others releasing product on you does not mean you are in the business. Garth chose to retire and at the time he did, he had not really been around all that long.

    Yes, the wording, national prominence, can put people in the Modern Era category that probably should not be in it.

    Much more that hit songs…if you read the HOF criteria you will see that the HOF stand for much more than songs. That is why I have to continue to question Strait being in the Hall. And, of course, he got in far too early simply because of all who came before him who are not yet in it who should be.

    Connie Smith chose a different path….to stay home. This really gave her a different kind of career than many of her peers. I absolutely love her voice and her. But, she has little but the songs and as I keep saying, the criteria for the HOF is much more than the songs. But, because of the way country music was…a big boys club…there are not a lot of females to choose from until you get well into the 70s and then really not all that many compared to the number of males out there in the business.

    I totally forget about The Judds…and, of course, they are not in the Modern Era. But, they were also not in the business 20 years or even close. Had they had a longer career, I would say yes for them and the HOF. With Wynona as a solo act, perhaps this will be included in the years and thus qualify The Judds. I do not know.

    But, all the more current artists. I think it is far too soon to know what impact they have had on the industry and that is why so many names have been mentioned. People are naming the ones who have had success recently and assuming their impact will remain. There is just no way to know that it will. In most cases, it will not. Hard to say who will remain, though. One reason Reba remained as long as she did is because no female came along after her to really challenge her. Of course, some of that is because of the changes in how the industry operated, including how hits are determined. I am certainly not saying Reba is not a phenomenen. I am just saying her long staying power was greatly helped by the ones who came after her.

  38. I’m just not understanding how Tanya Tuckers behavior adversely effected the industry any more than people like, lets say, Glen Campbell who participated in many of Tuckers antics and was inducted into the HOF in 2006. Is it because she’s a female? That’s all I can imagine you’re suggesting, unless I’m missing something, which is certainly possible.

  39. “Others releasing product on you does not mean you are in the business. Garth chose to retire and at the time he did, he had not really been around
    all that long.”

    Are we talking about the same guy? Garth Brooks, the infamous control freak? There’s no way that it was just “others releasing product on” him. First of all, he owns all of his music, so he’s the only one who can release product on himself. Secondly, there’s no doubt that he had complete control on how his packages were released, including the order of the songs on his Greatest Hits collection, which did include two or three new songs recorded especially for the collection. I could be wrong, but even though he didn’t actively tour, he’s still done shows here and there since his retirement, for one reason or another. He says that he’s retired, he’s slowed down very significantly, but he’s still got a toe in the business.

  40. Paul, I’m with Razor on this one, about Patty Loveless…

    She deserves to be rewarded for helping Country music to maintain it’s identity and for reminding folks where Country came from. She has maintained her artistic integrity, she has the the unqualified respect of her peers, especially the old timers such as George Jones and Ralph Stanley…Ralph Stanley calls her his favorite female vocalist, and puts her in the same league as George Jones, for the lonesome Mountain sound in her voice.

    She IS a legendary vocalist, music critic Thom Jurek says about Patty that she is the best of her generation…and that no one possesses a purer Country voice with the exception perhaps of Emmylou Harris. She has been called the last of the true Country singers…she is one of the few Mountain style singers to combine commercial success with artistic achievement and critical acclaim. And if you read the many reviews of Sleepless Nights, and the reviews of all of her twenty-first century albums, (as well as much of her earlier stuff) you will read many, many critics singing her praises and calling her one of Country’s best ever.

    As for Patty’s influence, time will tell. If there is a major return to Traditional sounding Country, and if country regains its soul once again, I believe Patty will deserve at least some of the credit. Carrie Underwood is already recommending Sleepless Nights to her fans. Sara Evans has repeatedly acknowledge Patty’s influence on her early work. And I’m sure there are many others…actually I see it on MySpace music, when up and coming artists list their influences, Patty’s name can be found quite often. And if you look at all the artists who have benefited from Patty’s generous backing vocals on their projects, I think you will get a better idea of Patty’s influence, and of the high regard she enjoys from her peers.

    Patty Loveless has an extremely well balanced catalogue, which includes a string of critically acclaimed Neotraditonal style albums, and highly critically acclaimed Bluegrass album, a highly acclaimed Christmas album, and now a hightly acclaimed Classic Country Covers album…I can’t think of any other Country artist who has covered ALL of these bases so well.. Some have covered a few of these aspects, Dolly with her Bluegrass and Christmas albums, for example…and Martina with her covers album, but not many have covered all the bases and avenues of expression that a Country artist has available as comprehensively as Patty Loveless has. And Patty is one of only a handful of female artists to ever win CMA’s album of the year. Many people consider Patty and Vince Gill one of Country’s legendary duet/vocal teams.(including Vince, lol).

    And Patty is a twenty year veteran of the Grand Ole Opry, and one of it’s most respected members. She, along with her husband/producer Emory, is a member of the Georgia music hall of fame, along with such greats as Ray Charles and Little Richard. And Marty Stuart recently introduced Patty at the Grand Ole Opry with a prediction that she would one day be a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He has also referred to Patty as “the GREAT Patty Lovelss, and called her one of the finest Country singers on the planet. I think Marty knows his stuff, and has excellent taste and judgement.

    I think all of this is hard to overlook.

    Induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame is about more than just a chart-topping run. If it’s not, it should be.

  41. I have stayed away from Patty Loveless simply because I really do not know what all she has done. She might well be HOF material in the future. But, if she is, there are sure far more in her category that deserve this honor before she does.

    I honestly cannot say what Garth Brooks did except push other artists out of his label. He was allowed to control that label at the expense of other artists. I cannot call anyone who breaks a guitar onstage a country music artist. I always thought of him as rock rather than country and at the very least country rock. If any one artist turned country music away from its roots, it is Garth.

    I do absolutely agree that Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker are a pair in terms of their personal lives. But, in terms of how the industry viewed these two, Campbell was given a by on these things. Tucker was not. And, by industry, I am talking about the group of people that have long controlled the industry. Play by their rules or forget it. I do not know why Campbell was given the by and Tucker was not but that is what has happened. Perhaps it has to do with how each of them then responded to all their negative publicity. Perhaps Tucker fed this and Campbell did not. I am just guessing on that as I actually do not remember what their longer term responses were.

    But, your comments on the song and how there are many, many things more important than the hits when it comes to expanding country music to the masses and strengthening the industry, etc., I certainly agree with you. And, in its criteria, the HOF does include all of these things rather than the hits. I cannot say those who do the voting always follow the criteria but I gather there is nothing that says they must.

    I would actually like to know what the more recent artists think about getting into the HOF now. I know that one of the first things Vince Gill said was…it is too soon. The artists know what the meaning of the HOF is and I tend to think many would feel as Gill. Fans look at it totally differently just as they look at most of the awards differently than the artists do.

    Fans have their favorites and many fans tend to think their favorite belongs in the HOF…period. But, that should not be the case. This is not a fan based honor, for one thing. It is industry based…as it should be. And, I am sure this is why the full membership does not vote on this honor. I am not saying the HOF is not political. I definitely think it is…but, then all the CMA Awards are political to come degree…some years more than others.

  42. Jewels,

    Garth Brooks is a country singer and a country star despite many pop music influences. The fact that he’s broken a guitar on stage isn’t a reason to say he’s not country.

  43. Jewels, ..

    If Patty retired today, she would still be HOF material, based strictly on what she’s already accomplished. I don’t think she has to prove herself any further, but from everything I’ve heard, she has no intention of slowing down now. If you want to know more about the “whys” and what she’s done, read my post above, Razor’s, and many posts on this website and especially many of Blake’s, and Leeann’s, and Kevin’s excellent write up on the 100 greatest women of Country. He places her at #13 on that countdown, ahead of many mentioned on this particular thread as those deserving induction, and I agree. (although I would have put her in the top 10). She may not be at the top of this HOF list we are debating, but I think she deserves induction sooner than many, (but certainly not all) of those already mentioned for consideration, and I’ve tried to support my assertions with facts as well as opinions.

    Razor, I am dissapointed, but not surprised to hear about Martina’s new material being more of the same ole “country-lite” pop. I beginning to fear that her TImeless album was an anomality, a token nod to Tradition, whereas with Patty, Sleepless Nights is an essential expression of everything she is about, and a labor of love.

    I am holding out more hope for Sara’s next one, and I hope she chooses the path that Patty has blazed, instead of the one Martina and Faith continue to tread.

  44. Ah, so much to say, but not enough time to say it all. So, I’ll spare us all and make it quick.

    As for Garth not being country and all, I don’t have the heart to argue with you there today, since I’d only be a broken record at this point. I’ll just say for now that I wholeheartedly disagree. I will submit to the fact that there were a lot of issues with him and his label and that he demanded a lot of them. I will not, however, agree that this is any reason for him not to be inducted into the HOF. Furthermore, I don’t think it will keep him from it, anyway.

    As for Vince Gill being inducted, I’m a huge fan (as everyone knows) and I was truly happy for him. I will admit, though, that I do wonder if it was too soon. He definitely deserves to be there, but I agree with the notion that people who are older should have a chance first, which is kind of my problem with these contemporary inductions. Again, however, this doesn’t diminish the elation that I felt when Vince was inducted, of course.

    There’s just no doubt in my mind that Patty will make it in someday and she’ll deserve it. I’m surprised that people would think otherwise.

    I agree with Razor on Lynn Anderson, by the way. That’s exactly how I feel.

  45. Garth Brooks is a lock, and he should be. The genre is still reaping the benefits of his success, twenty years later.

    Patty Loveless will also enter without a problem. The respect she commands runs quite deep, and she had a very long run on the radio, too. She was regularly hitting the top twenty for many years.

  46. I most definitely agree that Garth Brooks is a lock for the HOF and my guess is that he will be going in next year in the Modern Era category. But, that does not mean I think he should go in.

    He may have done some things that helped country music except I think some of these things could be looked at the other way…eventually causing it to slide backwards some. At the very least, the control he had over his record label was destructive to many other deserving artists. And, I cannot condone that kind of control…Garth being given it by Jimmy Bowen but also Garth even wanting it in the first place. Garth is definitely not a team player!! No, breaking a guitar does not mean he is not country. But, breaking guitars and the like is more typical of what rock stars do.

    Actually, what Garth did at his record label greatly affected Tanya Tucker. She pursued it but should never have had to.

    I am going to include Alabama here but I want to say up front that I do not equate them to Garth Brooks in terms of the things both did over all. One of the ways to have an impact on country music is to expand its audience…but this means bring more people into it and have them stay as fans of the music. Both Alabama and Garth Brooks had many young teenagers who really liked them. These teenagers did not like country music. They liked those acts. I know this for a fact because of the association I have with young teenagers. They could care less about country music but back in the day they liked those two acts in spite of them being in country. But, this following did not win these teenagers over to country music…not even close.

    As far as I am concerned starting in the late eighties, country music all started to sound the same. Artists did not have distinctive styles when they sang, etc. And, this is the very group that makes up this new Modern Era for the HOF now. I pay little attention to the newer artists today so I have no clue if that changed or not. But, the few I hear from time to time..Bentley..sounds more rock than country to me. And, the reason I say all of this, I think this is the change that Garth Brooks brang…and I just do not care for it one bit.

    As for Patty Loveless, I said I did not know her history. I have nothing against her but I found it hard to listen to her at times because of the very pronounced twang she has. This does not mean she is not good…merely that it was a sound I could not listen to for very long. And, I am sure this is why I never learned too much about her. I also know that I could learn her contributions, etc. by doing research….if I wanted to. But, one thing I would not use to learn her history is listen to what other people say about what she has done or accomplished. This latter would merely be their opinion.

    I will leave my comments at….with this Modern Era category (and before there the 1975 on one)…I was never in favor of either of them because what it does, in my opinion, is put artists in the HOF too soon….the Modern Era will make it even sooner than the 1975 one. And, besides being too soon, it is at the expense of people who came before them who are not yet in the HOF. I think it cheapens the honor of being in the HOF. Strait, Alabama and Gill should not have been put in the HOF before the Statlers and Mandrell….period. Mandrell is a female and the Hall shies away from females but that is still no excuse. I am glad Mandrell, the Statlers and every Emmylou, got in before this Modern Era category came into play. But, I feel sorry for those from their era and before who are not yet in. Brooks, Jackson, Travis and no telling who else in the Modern Era will get in…do not deserve to be in the HOF before…the Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, Tanya Tucker, Jean Shepherd, and many of the others than have been cited in this blog.

  47. “They could care less about country music but back in the day they liked those two
    acts in spite of them being in country. But, this following did not win these teenagers over to country music…not even close.”

    Interestingly, it was Garth Brooks who brought me to country music.

    “As for Patty Loveless, I said I did not know her history. I have nothing against her but I found it hard to listen to her at times because of the very pronounced twang she has. This does not mean she is not good…merely that it was a sound I could not listen to for very long.”

    Patty Loveless is too twangy for you? And we’re having a conversation about who should be in the HOF? Ironic, since you’re claiming that Garth isn’t country.

  48. I became a fan of country music in the early nineties myself, while a young teenager. I obviously stuck around. But it’s an incorrect revision of history to suggest that the audience expansion of the early nineties was due to more teenagers listening to country music. That was only a small part of it. There was a massive migration of middle-aged listeners that have stuck around ever since. Country sales go up and down from year to year, but they’ve never come close to receding to pre-Garth/Class of 1989 numbers.

    Garth Brooks has never been one of my absolute favorites, but he’s never sounded anything less than country to me, even though the rock influences are obviously there.

    I think the acts of the late eighties/early nineties were far more substantive and had stronger connections to the roots of country music than Barbara Mandrell, Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, etc.

  49. When I used to watch Garth Brooks and Clint Black on CMT and TNN, I thought to myself, “these are two guys for the ages”…They reminded me so much of the grandmasters, even when they were just starting out. Alan Jackson too… THESE guys are “going to fill their shoes” Brad too, and VInce and Dwight…I think they really ARE the answer to George Jones’ question.

    And Patty’s twangy voice? *sigh* ….Just right, not too little, not too much, just PERFECT! ;)

  50. What I would suspect might hinder Linda’s chances in the CMHOF is not so much that she is not a strict country singer, but that she doesn’t live or work in Nashville (only one of her albums was recorded there, and that was in 1970). Linda also is an extremely private person, not too easily accessible to the fans, which I would gather is kind of a no-no in Nashville. She has also been very critical of country music radio over the last several years, saying that it no longer values either the traditional sounds she grew up with or the progressive ideals she espoused in her own music (a view that Emmylou herself also shares, incidentally). Still, there is a push for her induction to happen, not just from fans like me, but from her younger peers in the business.

    With respect to Garth Brooks–I don’t think there’s any question that he’ll get in at some point; a guy that sells 200 million albums can’t be overlooked. But his referring to his releases as “product” is just slightly insulting to fans, like it isn’t really art but strictly a big business deal (IMHO).

    I recall also that Elvis managed to get inducted into the CMHOF twenty-plus years after his death, and I say this with a bit of a chuckle. When he made his one and only appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in 1954, an appearance that didn’t exactly go down too well, the Opry’s talent coordinator at the time allegedly told the future King that he ought to go back to driving trucks. Elvis, of course, got the last laugh in the end, to say the least.

  51. Professional Conduct and Image A candidate is expected to have practiced the highest caliber of professional conduct in order to enhance the public image of both himself/herself and Country Music.
    Personal Morals and Behavior The selection process is not a judgment of personal morals and behavior, providing the latter do not negatively affect the professional conduct of the candidate and the public image of Country Music.

    The above is the stated Professional Conduct criteria for the HOF. I decided to copy it here so one can see why people like Jean Shepherd and The Dixie Chicks do not meet this criteria. I do know where all and what all Jean Shepherd said but I do know that she made many of her remarks on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. I would think that alone would go against the criteria….big time.

    In regards to The Dixie Chicks..they kept their Bush bashing up long after the initial comment made by Natalie and it did have a negative impact that I cannot see the industry every forgetting. I would certainly think this would disqualifiy them. And, of course, since Natalie made her initial comment in England (foreign soil) she did, technically, commit treason in the process and this would certainly not help her case.

    With some it is most likely a much finer liner and, hence, things get overlooked by the industry when it comes time for voting..overlooked for some and probably not overlooked for others.

    Since Shepherd is convinced she will not get in because of her past behavior, I would think she knows her actions were taken seriously by the community. I can only go by what I have heard in regards to her. With the Dixie Chicks being more recent, I heard the initial comment and then later ones…and to me, this will be enough to keep them out as stated in the criteria.

    All of the HOF criteria are worded in such a way that they can be interpreted differently by different people. But, I guess they figure that since the initial 20 (think that is the number) per category comes from a small group of people and might include some not qualified that in using the larger number for the final ballot that any one on the list of 20 will be weeded out by the larger number in their voting.

    I think there will always be people not in the HOF simply because they have not met enough of the criteria to any great extent but that some people will think those not in should be as they will place a greater influence on some aspect. This could work in the reverse, too.

    I still wonder why Elvis is really in the CMHOF. Yes, he is a tremendous music icon. He is in survery history text books on the Jr. High and High School levels. Very, very few people in the arts are. But, he made his mark in Rock and Roll. And, a case could be made for him in Gospel, to some extent. But, this is not Country. Personally, I think he was included in the CMHOF, when he was, simply as an effort on the part of the country industry to have him help the industry grow. For example, visit the HOF and Museum and see his gold cadillac, etc…translates to more people going to the museum..translates to more money. I am not saying this worked. Just saying it is a sound reason as to the why of it all. And, I also think money is behind now having the Modern Era (and earlier the 1975 and beyond era). Does not mean I think it will work.

  52. I’m still perplexed by the comments about Tanya Tucker. Her personal behavior hasn’t always been exemplary, but as we’ve noted, that is true for a lot of other people. I’ve never seen, nor have I ever heard of, her being anything less than professional while on stage. If she had “angered the industry” to the extent that it has been alleged here, she would have been blacklisted a long, long time ago. But to the contrary, she is one of a very small group of artists who was not only literally able to bring a career back from the brink of death, but able to soar to higher heights than she’d been previously.

    She is also an important figure as she straddles musical generations. As of the mid-90s when she was still charting regularly, she was the last commercial link to the old days of country music. There aren’t many artists who were having hits back when Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette were dominating the charts, who were STILL having hits when Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Alan Jackson, and Reba McEntire were at the top. I’d say that deserves some recognition.

  53. Ditto to the Tucker comments, Razor. I really, really can’t imagine how she won’t get in. If someone like George Jones who didn’t show up to his own shows is deservedly in….And as I said before Glen Campbell who participated in most of Tuckers antics, then there’s no good argument to be made that Tucker can’t go in based on behavior/conduct/effect on the industry. Furthermore, your music related reasons are right on.

  54. If Tucker doesn’t get in the Hall of Fame soon, it won’t be because she was blacklisted, but rather because of the time it’s going to take to get people from that era in with only one slot available per year.

    I suspect she’ll make it in, but we might be deep into the next decade when she does.

  55. Leeann,

    I agree. I just don’t buy the argument that people are kept out of the Hall of Fame due to personal character, regardless of that being among the criteria considered.

    If the best example out there of this is Jean Shepard, there’s no argument to be made at all.

  56. “I suspect she’ll make it in, but we might be deep into the next decade when she does.”

    Yeah, I think you’re right.

  57. @ Jewels:

    I would suspect Elvis’ presence in the CMHOF has a lot to do with the recognition that he helped change the rules forever with what could be done in American popular music, and this includes Country. What he and others were doing in the middle and late 1950s was combining two styles of music (Country & Western; Rhythm & Blues) that were generally looked down upon by many taste makers of the time, R&B was considered too lewd by white folk, while country was considered backwoods and hick by urban people. What Elvis did was to break down those barriers; and while it almost caused country music to go extinct, in the long run it forced that music to accept change and evolution, from which it has since always benefited.

    Some of his records have fallen, but I dare say that Elvis will probably remain the only artist in history to get more than one song to hit #1 on all three singles charts (pop; country; R&B) simultaneously–and he did it six times (“Heartbreak Hotel”; “Hound Dog”; “Don’t Be Cruel”; “All Shook Up”; “[Let Me Be Your] Teddy Bear”; “Jailhouse Rock”). And when he recorded his 1971 country covers album ELVIS COUNTRY, he re-established his country music roots in a big way, just as his 1969 Memphis sessions saved him from permanent B-movie Purgatory.

  58. Somethings I will never understand, drinking, beating your wife, doing drugs, drunk driving risking the lives of innocent others, are all minor enough to still allow entry into the HOF, infact it gives you that slick title of ‘outlaw’

    But the act of pissing those off in the industry is the greatest sin of all in the Nashville community. The Dixie Chicks belong there just as much as any of the inductees into the HOF, and I feel when they’re time comes thats where they need to be. They have already accomplished more than quite a few of the current members.

  59. “I just don’t buy the argument that people are kept out of the Hall of Fame due to personal character, regardless of that being among the criteria considered.

    If the best example out there of this is Jean Shepard, there’s no argument to be made at all.”

    I agree. I don’t think personal behavior should come into play because it’s someone’s contributions to the music that is being honored. I could see, perhaps, if someone turned out to be a serial killer or something, that you wouldn’t want to honor them in any way. But anything short of that isn’t grounds for exclusion, IMO. Similarly, I don’t think Pete Rose should be kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, because his accomplishments are what they are. But that’s a whole other argument.

  60. No female in the last twenty years has a more critically-acclaimed body of work than Loveless, and I think that, combined with her run at radio, is enough to secure easy entry into the HOF. “If My Heart Had Windows” cracked the top ten in ’88 and she was nommed for Female Vocalist at the ’89 CMAs. She was a viable performer at radio until after she climbed into the top twenty with “Lovin’ All Night” in ’03 (followed by an ’03 CMA Female Vocalist nod)—even though her last top ten single was in ’97. Of course, stats are not the end-all, be-all. Imagine if we applied those same barometers of success to today’s crop.

    Shania and the Chicks are interesting cases. Huge bursts of activity and national prominence followed by a few down periods. I’d like to see their careers play out before making a judgment call on them.

    I would put Bert Blyleven in the Baseball Hall, but that’s taking into consideration how it’s been a bit of a watered-down institution in terms of inclusion. Pete Rose, strictly on athletics, deserves in as well. The whole discussion revolving around Rose is a caricature of itself at this point. I’m curious to see how the next round of players will be handled given the dark cloud hanging over the sport.

  61. I think that Alison Krauss and Trisha Yearwood might exceed Loveless in terms of critical acclaim in the past twenty years, but Loveless is certainly in the top tier.

  62. Krauss and Yearwood have broader public awareness and strong reputations from the critical community, but I think Loveless’ albums, as a whole, have been better received from country music critics. All three place very, very closely together when considering this generation’s greatest women, though (as you demonstrated in 100 Greatest Women).

  63. Blake,

    BB HOF Writers won’t vote in Rodriguez, McGuire, et al but I have a feeling that when younger writers join BBWoA and start to vote on ‘veterans’ that they’ll get in when those same players peers vote them in.

    I actually think the CMA’s new rules are great and I forecast that Patty will get in 2010, cause Garth’s a lock to get that nod this year.

  64. Blake, I think it was you who indicated that Patty and Trisha both had 20 top ten hits? I’m pretty sure I read that in Wikipedia as well, a while ago when I was doing some research on the catalogues of both ladies.

    As far as the comparative critical acclaim goes, I suspect you’re correct about Patty’s predominance in that arena, although there is no good way to quantify such things. But I would not be surprised if Trisha and AK have garnered an equal share as well. So I agree with you and Kevin that all three ladies are in the same league. But when one factors in fidelity to Tradition, Patty Loveless emerges as the clear favorite for those who of us who love Neotraditionaliam, Roots music, or Progressive Traditionalism (thanks for the term Kevin) above all. And if the HOF judges value fidelity to Tradition as well, Patty’s prospects look even brighter. I’d even argue that Patty is even more “Country” than Alison, in spite of the fact that AK is a Bluegrass/Country artist. I believe (but could be wrong) that most of Alison’s hits have been Pop flavored Country songs, even though she often gives them the Bluegrass treatment with her acoustic instrumetation and all….

    Anyway, I just have to share this quote from Thom Jurek, one of Patty’s staunchest critical supporters… and one of the MANY music critics who love her work, and perhaps the most colorful:

    “Who says country music is dead? Patty Loveless and her producer, husband Emory Gordy Jr. obviously don’t give a damn about what’s popular in the morally reprehensible and artistically bankrupt world of Nash Vegas (anti) culture this week. On Your Way Home picks up where the rootsy heart of Loveless’ awesome Mountain Soul left off- with a solid, emotionally moving, honestly delivered set of honest-to-God country songs written by fine contemporary songwriters……

    Ultimately, On Your Way Home is further proof that in her mid-40’s, Loveless is a singer who has just reached the pinnacle of musical and artistic greatness she has worked so hard for and has become a vocalist entitled to a legacy in the rich lineage of historic country music. It’s alive and well in her care.”

  65. The CMHOF is getting really ridiculous. The two people who really deserve to be inducted are Dottie West and Billy Sherril. It is a crime that they have not been put in and a shame. Reba and randy i bet will be next. Which i do not want.

  66. Everyone stop going on saying martina, reba etc deserve it is far too soon for them they are still young.

    Dottie West has been dead for 20 years, she was the first woman to win a grammy please HOF induct Dottie West she really deserves it.

  67. Mary Chapin should and will be inducted. She has already been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. She “opened” millions of listeners to so-called country music, inspired a generation of singer songwriters female AND male, eschewed big hair and flashy dresses while blurring brilliantly the silos of country/folk/rock. She is the ultimate slash artist. Actually she is just an artist. Second to none.

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