Country Music Hall of Fame Welcomes Garth Brooks, Connie Smith, and Hargus “Pig” Robbins

Garth Brooks, Connie Smith, and keyboardist Hargus “Pig” Robbins will join the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Brooks is the top-selling country music artist in history.  At fifty, he is one of the youngest living inductees ever.

Smith is the fifth female artist to be inducted since 2008, when Emmylou Harris ended a nine year drought for female inductees.

Since playing on the George Jones classic “White Lightning” in 1957, Robbins has recorded with countless legends of country and rock music, including Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Alan Jackson, and Bob Dylan.

What’s your take on the 2012 inductees?  More importantly, who deserves to join them in 2013?

We’ll run a list of our picks for the next round. Share your suggestions in the comments!


  1. I second all of the acts Erik mentioned, particularly Crystal Gayle. I’ll also throw out the Oak Ridge Boys.

    So glad that Smith is finally getting in! Same for Brooks, but Smith may be a bit overdue.

  2. …the country music hall of fame without garth always looked somewhat incomplete. what took them so long to induct conny smith eventually? she wasn’t any less deserving – say ten years ago. same goes for hargus “pig” robbins.

    perhaps, they should adjust their practice a little. it wouldn’t do any harm if the artists were actually still alive and kickin’ when they receive that honour. post mortem honours always fall a bit short from the honoured person’s perspective, i feel.

  3. Very pleased to see Connie Smith finally get inducted. Garth definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame, but I’d have preferred it if they’d inducted a few other people — Randy Travis, for one — first.


    1.Bonnie Guitar – true renaissance woman who moved from role to role during the course of her long career. You name it, she did it: singer, songwriter, session musician, producer, executive and record label owner.

    2. Bobby Bare – If ever a performer can be said to be “the thinking man’s country music singer,” Bobby Bare is that performer. Personable, with a wry sense of humor, Bare recorded some of the most thoughtful songs ever written, in “Detroit City,” “Margie’s At The Lincoln Park Inn,” “Daddy What If”

    3.Ronnie Milsap – I’m not a big Milsap fan but the breadth and depth of his catalog reveals a supremely gifted performer capable of handling any genre of music. Fortunately, he chose Country Music as his area of concentration.

    4.Dallas Frazier – Probably the greatest songwriter not named Merle Haggard or Harlan Howard. I would rate him above any of the other country songwriters living or dead and his catalog is full of huge pop, country and R&B hits. “Alley Oop” or “Elvira” anyone?

    5.Hank Williams, Jr. – long overdue for induction. So talented a singer and performer is he that even if he had merely continued as a straight-ahead mainstream performer, he would be worthy of induction as his early singles such as “Eleven Roses,” “Divorce or Destroy,” “Pride’s Not Hard To Swallow” and “Standing In The Shadows” still hold up today.

    6.Tanya Tucker – Very few female performers have left a legacy of great music as deep as that of Tanya Tucker. I would rate Ms Tucker over either Mandrell or McEntire strictly on their musical catalog (Tanya’s best songs blow the best songs of Reba or Barbara out of the water). Her early records were American Gothic’s last stand.

    7.Ray Stevens – Normally I would not advocate comedians for the CMHOF (I think Rod Brasfield and Duke of Paducah were horrible mistakes), but Ray Stevens is so much more than merely a comedian — record producer, song writer, session musician and major pop and country music star. Ray’s songs ranged from the merely funny to biting satire and social commentary.

    8. The Oak Ridge Boys – The Mighty Oaks started out as a gospel group and a very fine one. Along the way they appeared on records by Paul Simon and Johnny Cash before making the transition to major country music stars. Starting in the middle of 1977, they ran off a string of hits that ran for a dozen years, including some of the most memorable songs of the period including “Elvira”, “Fancy Free” and “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight”. Twenty-one of their records made it to #1 on one or more of the major charts (Billboard, Cashbox, Record World).

    9.The Browns (Jim Ed, Bonnie & Maxine)- Jim Ed Brown is a veteran performer with many hits to his credit, but his work as part of the Browns trio is what earns him and the group the nod. The Browns were among the early international ambassadors of country music.

    10. Anne Murray – the classiest MOR singer to ever cross over to the country charts

    11. Crystal Gayle – creditials similar to Anne Murray but not as good at choosing material

    12. Kenny Rogers – I’m nbo fan but it’s hard top ovberlook that degree of commercial success – and he did make some really fine records

    If I were a betting man, I would bet that Kenny Rogers and Hank Williams Jr. will be inducted in the next two years along with Ricky Skaggs.

    I’d like to see Doc Watson inducted but is he folk, bluegrass or country? However you classify him, he never made a bad record. I’d like to see Jerry Reed inducted as well – he could fit in virtually any category. And because of his vocal excellence, I’d love to see Gene Watson inducted – the genre has never had a better pure vocalist

  5. I think Connie Smith was way overdue for this honor because of her longevity, even though she has only made a handful of albums over the last thirty-five years. After all, Dolly Parton once said about Connie that she was one of only three real singers in the world (the other two being Barbra Streisand and Linda Ronstadt).

    I do think Garth’s induction here was inevitable, because you don’t sell a hundred million-plus albums in a genre where nobody had sold even a quarter of that over a career before, and not get noticed. While I can’t dispute the talent he has displayed in his own art, though, I think what he encouraged in others by way of his stage shows, turning them into arena-rock-type spectacles, and thus, in the minds of more than a few, leaving the substance out, has not been very good for the actual soul of country music.

  6. I’m happy to see Garth get in. He’s what led me to country music. When I listen to much of his music now, it’s so much more country than what’s on the radio these days.

  7. Mind you, I never said I was unhappy or upset about Garth’s induction; he was due for it at some point, he worked so hard to get it, and he deserves it. I’m only pointing out that Garth’s stage spectacles, which are a totally different thing from the recording studio, have encouraged a lot of those who have come in his wake to adopt the same arena-rock theatrics, which really aren’t what country music has ever been about.

    Ironically, one of those artists who has avoided that route is Garth’s significant other, Trisha Yearwood, who will probably get inducted at some point. I think she should, as should Linda (although, again, Linda never considered herself a country artist in the strictest sense of the term).

  8. Erik- I have to respectfully disagree with you on Garth’s stage shows; what you saw on the television programmes were done just for those shows. The actual tour concerts did have him and the band running about on the stage having a good time, but there was no fire rings or flying on wires. Those bits were strictly for telly.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about Trisha Yearwood; she completely deserves to be in the HOF.

  9. I also want to put in a good word for Hargus “Pig” Robbins, the third to be inducted this year. Session guys really don’t seem to get noticed all that much by the general audience (dedicated music fans, that’s another story). But any man who can say that they’ve worked with, among others, George Jones and Bob Dylan (the latter on 1969’s Nashville Skyline), is more than a little deserving of any accolades coming his way (IMHO).

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