Country Music HOF: Class Exercise


The Country Music Association (CMA) was founded in 1958 while country music was experiencing something of an identity and commercial crisis. With Elvis Presley, rock music, and the Top 40 format all on the rise, industry leaders feared that if they didn’t take action country music could disappear completely.

One of the CMA’s goals was to prove to the world outside of Nashville that country music had a significant audience and could make a lot of money. In a memo to radio stations interesting in tapping into the country audience, the organization offered the following guidelines:

Don’t approach the Country Music listener as a “different” type animal. . . . Don’t instruct your announcer to “sound country.” There is no reason for deejays to take on a phony accent, or drawl, because they’re programming Country Music. Don’t assume the Country Music listener is less intelligent than any other. . . . Be careful that your programming is not slanted down to your audience. Country Music fans are intelligent people. (Qtd. in Pecknold 147)

Since 1961, the CMA has also operated a Hall of Fame (HOF). The HOF’s procedures have evolved over time, but recently it has stuck to inducting members in three categories. The first category recognizes a “Veterans Era” performer, which means an artist or group that rose to national prominence at least 45 years ago. The second category recognizes a “Modern Era” performer, which means an artist or a group that rose to national prominence between 20 and 45 years ago. Lastly, the HOF makes an additional induction every year of someone who isn’t a performer. Sometimes it’s an instrumentalist, songwriter, or comedian. Other times, it’s a producer or studio executive. In our class, we’ll focus on the “Veteran” and “Modern” performer categories.

Today’s assignment

In class today, you will write a response to this post that includes two parts.

  • First, summarize the criteria that the HOF uses to decide the artists that it will induct. To do this, you will need to extrapolate your answer from a variety of sources including the excerpt from The Selling Sound and the HOF’s website. You’ll notice that both of these sources indicate several reasons that a performer may be inducted. Which to you seem like the most important?
  • Second, select one performer who has been inducted since 2009 and explain how he or she meets the criteria that you just outlined. You will need to do some additional research into the performer that you choose (using Wikipedia, etc.) to explain your answer.

Lastly, if you already know who you want to propose as a new member of the HOF in your final paper of the semester, then say who it is and briefly why.


Filed under Class work, Hall of Fame

22 Responses to Country Music HOF: Class Exercise

  1. Tyler Dial

    The criteria for being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is pretty simple. The musician must have had a significant impact on the industry. These individuals can be songwriters, musicians, recording artists, etc… Not only do these individuals have to have had an influence, but they must have conducted themselves in an professional and compassionate way. They must have represented Country music in a positive light.

    Garth Brooks is someone who was inducted in 2012 that held up to these standards. He broke the all-time record sales in the US, he influenced many of today’s top entertainers, and he did it all with compassion and grace. One of his influences on country music was his live show. Standing on the shoulders of Chris Ledoux, Brooks was able to create a rock and roll style live show that is now accepted as the norm for country entertainers.

    I want to propose Chris LeDoux as a new member because of his impact on Country music. He is single handedly responsible for starting the “cowboy” movement in Country music that made guys like George Strait and Garth Brooks so popular. He is also the first one to create a rock and roll live show that was like the pace of a rodeo. Garth borrowed that idea and now he is known as one of the top country music entertainers ever.

  2. Stephanie Sebo

    The HOF had a more traditional outlook on what they would accept, basing their thoughts off the importance of history in country music. I think that “to encourage the highest ethics throughout the industry; and to ensure that Country Music retains its individuality” is great criteria for why an individual can be inducted. I also think it is important that they honor the past, but do continue to accept new forms of music.

    I think Garth Brooks, who was inducted in 2012, is a great example of this criteria. He does remind me of traditional country music, but also adds new ideas to the table. Since the HOF said they do look toward the future for new sounds, I know that Garth Brooks helped move the genre into the mainstream music world. He brought his own individuality to the table while still upholding traditional a traditional country sound. It was said that his progressive approach led to his overall success in the music industry. I also think that since Garth Brooks took a break from his career from 2001-2005, so he could sort out conflicts with his family and career also shows that he is a man who has his priorities straight and he does uphold those ethics that the HOF expect in potential inductees. He came back in 2009 with a comeback tour to show his drive and passion for music, which also exemplifies him as an individual.

  3. Hannah Evans

    Though it has faced significant growth and change over time, to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame one must be an individual person who has “achieved leadership” in his or her field while influencing others (what I believe is the most important factor). Their own personal morals are not a determining factor as long as they do not negatively impact the perceived image of Country Music. They must either fall into the category of an artist from the “modern era” or the “veterans era” which involves holding national prominence for at least twenty or forty years, respectively. There is also a rotating category that involves non-performers. The Hall of Fame hopes to remind the public that the Country Music industry is full of performers who have positively impacted the entire country, and remained
    compassionate and full of integrity in the process.

    Garth Brooks fits the criteria for being included in the Hall of Fame due to his leadership in producing songs with controversial messages. He realized that the younger crowd desired songs that were about more than relationships and drinking, and acted accordingly. In 1990, he addressed subjects like wife beating in his video for “Thunder Rolls”, which either gained him praise or criticism. His attempt to promote social change through his music proves his attempt to influence Americans. Similarly, his huge live shows combined country music with rock music and gave country concerts a new appearance. He recognizes that his influences (like Queen) played a huge role in the performer that he is today, and hopes to impact younger artists as well. He did make mistakes throughout his career like when he cheated on his wife and released his sister’s lesbian identity without her consent, but these flaws seemed to be overlooked by the Country Music Association—he is just a person after all.

  4. Kelby Floerke

    The criteria that must be met in order for someone to be inducted in the country music HOF includes making an impact on country music. An artist must speak to the audience in a way that reminds them that the people who produce country music are filled with compassion, love and dignity for country music. Another aspect of being inducted into the country music HOF is individuality. What makes one artist stand out from another artist? The artist must also keep a good image for country music as a whole.

    I chose Don Williams as someone who meets the criteria for HOF inductee. He meets the criteria in the sense that he gives country music a good name. My grandparents actually know him personally and grew up with him, he comes from a good family and small town. He is able to sing about these things and the audience knows that he is genuine about what he writes and sings. He also made a name for himself, “Gentle Giant”. The fact that the audience noticed how much his voice stood out and was able to give him a nickname because of this shows his individuality. He also had a very sting influence over other artists including; Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Kenny Rogers and other big names as well. I think this is important in a potential HOF inductee because it shows that they have helped shape country music and new artist to make their own sound. Don Williams is a good example of someone who exceeded meeting the criteria for a HOF member.

    I am still wish-washy about who I want to propose as my new member of the HOF, but I am considering Keith Whitley.

  5. Caitie Labay

    There are several criteria that the CMA uses in order to select their inductees for the Country Music Hall of Fame, but the goal across the board seems to be to select artists who have made a significant impact in country music. According to the CMA website, an appropriate candidate is one who is professional and successful in their endeavors. These could be the result of one significant act or many acts over a period of time. According to the excerpt from “The Selling Sound”, the purpose of the HOF is to promote Country Music and encourage ethics and individuality in the genre. They are also aiming to emphasize the cultural tradition of Country Music. It seems to me that the most important criteria for being inducted is that the artist did the genre justice; they were respectable throughout their career and had a passion for what they were doing. This could be in many areas of country music such as singing, writing, or playing. The HOF did not want the same thing in all of their inductees, but rather looks for creativity and individuality.

    I think an excellent inductee would be Alan Jackson. Reaching popularity in the late 80s/early 90s, he used a blend of honkey tonk, blue grass, and mainstream country sounds to generate many unique hits. He has received countless awards from the CMAs and ACMs, and had so many number one hits that in 2010 he released a massive two-disk compilation album of all 34 of them. He has even been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. In the face of all of the fame he acquired, he still managed to keep a level head and a humble personality through it all. He has also had several collaborations with other country artists which allowed him to reach various audiences. His unique sound, widespread success over multiple decades, and professionalism are all excellent reasons as to why he should be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

  6. Darah Welch

    In order to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame the performer must meet several criteria. The first and most important is that the musician has contributed to the advancement of country music. They must also have made a widespread but also qualitative impact on American country music as a whole. They must be influential on others as well as impactful on the lives of many. They must have proved themselves to be of upstanding personal conduct and moral behavior–leading to the respect of many.

    Reba McEntire is one such individual who proved that she deserved to be an inductee through her widespread influence and upstanding character as a whole. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011 and achieved a #1 single a year after being inducted–which is very rare. Aside from winning multiple grammy awards and achieve fifty top singles and more, Reba penetrated multiple medias with her own TV show and performance on Broadway. Reba made an individual effort to focus her energies on empowering women, which demonstrates how she did not lose sight of what it means to be a celebrity. She understands that with her kind of power and influence she can raise up strong women in both the country music world, and across America.

  7. Lauren Harris

    In summary, the HOF wants to induct individuals who have made a significant contribution to further country music and influenced others, while maintaining a professional image. They want people who have kept country music in good light and preserved this important American part. Whether it is singing, playing an instrument, song writing, etc., they must have stood out across all fields.

    Garth Brooks was inducted into the Country Music HOF in 2012. He changed country music in the 90’s and set amazing records, not only in country music but all genres. He is the top-selling solo artist in history. He retired in 2001 and during that time he supported many charities and was a family man. When he decided to come back in 2007 he returned to number one with his song “More than a Memory.” Still performing today, he has influenced many great younger artists.

  8. Ginny Montalbano

    The excerpt from The Selling Sound makes it clear that the HOF is looking for artists who impacted country music strongly, seen by how much airtime their hits got and how their songs affected the advertising industry’s attitude and response to the “selling power of country music”. The more successful an artist was at this, then naturally country music would receive more “broadcasting time on radio and television”. They were also looking for entertainers who managed to walk a fine line- those who could remain relevant in the “larger pop industry while still remaining distinct” as a country artist. The HOF website echoes this, and clearly states inductees will be recognized for their “significant contributions to the advancement of country music”.

    Garth Brooks, inducted in 2012, is an excellent example of what exactly the HOF is looking for. In fact, the first sentence on his HOF website page is “created a seismic shift in the popularity and perception of country music when he shot to stardom in the early 1990s”. The Selling Sound noted how the HOF/Country Music Association was hoping that through history and story-telling they could alter the hillbilly perception of country music. The page also emphasizes that through his sales records, he proved “there were no limits to what a country star could achieve”. The HOF credits both his talent as a performer/singer as well as his personal character for affirming “that country music concerts could compete in ticket sales and in excitement with those in any style of music” and perhaps more importantly, Garth Brooks was able to “heighten country music’s media profile and moved the genre further into the mainstream of American entertainment”, which is exactly what the HOF and CMA was intended to do.

  9. Abby Bourland

    Back in the day, country music was perceived as hill-billy music. The Country Music Association wanted to erase this image and redefine country music. In doing so, the Country Music Hall of Fame was created to produce a historical definition of country music. Inductees of the HOF must serve as leaders of such music. They must contribute to country music and impact it greatly, influence other artists and fans, stand as a leader both musically and inspirationally, augment country music’s popularity, and also have a professional and personal morals and behavior.

    In 2011, Jean Shepard was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Shepard served as a pioneer for women in the country music industry and had over 70 songs on the Hot Country Songs chart. Her first musical appearance with Ferlin Husky, also inducted into the Hall of Fame, earned her, and country music, popularity. As a woman, Shepard influenced many other women to join in on country music and served as an idol and inspiration. Shepard’s compassion, love, and dignity secured her a spot in the Hall of Fame.

  10. Kaki Miller

    1. The Country Music Hall of Fame is an extremely prestigious honor for anyone who is lucky enough to be inducted, but the criteria for being inducted takes more than luck. First, artists either can qualify as a “veteran” performer, meaning their prominence and fame was most apparent more than 45 years ago, or as a “modern” performer, meaning their prominence between 20 and 45 years ago. This limits the candidates to certain ages. Once an artist or performer meets the age criteria, they are required and held to certain standards of excellence within the country music scene. Artists are required to uphold a positive image while having strong morals, make an influence on others including audience, fellow artists, and the country music community, as well as make an undeniable contribution to country music that makes a positive impact on the genre. In my opinion, having a positive appearance and worthy ethics within the country community are the most essential aspects of getting inducted. There are many great musicians and artists whose music is without a doubt awesome and has a large fan base, but negative reputations and bad morals tend to keep these otherwise deserving artists out of the HOF.

    2. Reba McEntire, arguably the most successful female singer from her generation, was inducted into the HOF in 2011 for her undeniable success in the field as well as her role-model behavior for the community that follows her. She would be considered a “modern” inductee because she was nationally prominent between 20 and 45 years ago. What is truly incredible about her has been her ability to maintain her prominence in the country scene by continuing to go on tours, releasing number 1 hits, and promoting good work in the community. She has won many awards for her music, she has contributed to society by having songs that speak to women in a way that they may not be able to themselves, and she is devoted to country music. In my opinion, she is a very worthy inductee and she hits all the criteria needed to be inducted.

  11. John Monroe

    The criteria for being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame seem to be partially contradictory because for a candidate to be nominated they need to have influenced the industry but also not be too different so they can sell records. I think this stems from the original mission of the CMA that emphasized selling power and marketability while also claiming, “to ensure Country Music retains its individuality.” So, to be inducted an artist must sell a lot of records (or be successful in their field such as song writing, producing, etc) and influence the industry but not rock the boat too hard, musically, politically or socially.
    Kenny Rodgers was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013 and is an excellent candidate. He had plenty of 1 hits that were popular not only on the Country Music charts but Pop charts as well. Kenny Rodgers was best at his distinctive voice and songs that told great stories.
    I want to Propose Charlie Daniels as a new member because of his legendary talent on a fiddle as well as his impressively long career as a touring artist which started as a studio musician in Nashville. The only drawback to Charlie Daniels, which I don’ think should have to be an issue was Charlie Daniel’s politics.

  12. Candace Edgley

    The CMA was established to “honor the past-the roots” and to “gladly accept development and change” which is clearly presented in the original three, now four categories for the Country Music HOF: Modern Performer, Veteran Performer, Non-performer, and Songwriter. The judgment panel is made up of historians and country music professionals in order to ensure a well-rounded assay of the performer and their accomplishments. The website lists several specific criteria for a performer or performance group to be inducted. Overall they must produce something memorable/transient that withstands time or is particularly novel and inspiring to others, maintain a professional caliber of conduct but aside from that the person’s personal morals do not affect their candidacy.
    Reba McEntire was inducted into the HOF in 2011 and she embodies all of the criteria presented on their website. She has produced a huge number of top ten singles and has had more #1 country music albums than any other woman in the industry, displaying her quantitative contribution to the industry and her excellence within just part of her scope of activity. She also founded an entertainment company that is multidimensional and expands that scope past just that of performing in the world of country music, along with starring in films, and TV, and on broadway. Her influence on other country music artists is highly apparent- many modern country stars site her as inspiration to their own music and style. She also displays a sincere devotion to the women of country music and introduced more flashy concerts in the country music world. Overall Reba is an outstanding profession with many versatile and upstanding qualitative and quantitative qualities that warranted her induction into the Country Music HOF.

  13. Kayla Miracle

    The Country Music Association chooses who gets to be elected into the HOF at their sole prerogative. An anonymous group of leaders in the country music world are chosen each year by members of the CMA to select who will be elected in the HOF that year. Candidacy for HOF relies on the following factors: the basic standard (his/her contribution to the country music world), individual candidacy (only individuals can be inducted – not groups, radio stations, etc.), scope of activity (songwriting, producing, performing, etc.), span of influence (how the time factor of the individual has affected the country music world), influence on others, quantity v quality (important to both be substantive in quantity but also in quality), devotion to others, professional image and personal moral and behavior.

    In my opinion, the most important deciding factor seems to be the basic standard and how much they’ve contributed to country music. This is what makes them who they are and seems to be the primary deciding factor.

    Reba McEntire was inducted in the HOF in 2011. She meets all of the above criteria because of her above and beyond career in country music. Reba ‘s contribution to the country music has been extensive and her time in country music has matched that. She has had a wide array of hits that are also very quality oriented. She has also made a name for herself in things outside of country music proving she is a well-rounded star — with her own TV show and numerous movies and also a book. Reba was an ultimate choice for the HOF and is the epitome of what other inductees should look like.

  14. Sierra Smith

    When choosing to induct someone into the Country Music HOF, it is important that the artist fits that of the organization’s mission statement. The mission is “to promote Country music in its entirety, with no selfish motives; to encourage the highest ethics through the industry; and to ensure that Country Music retains its individuality.” Therefore the CMA looks for performers who improve the genre’s cultural standing as well as those who downplay the music’s commercialism by emphasizing its preservation of cultural tradition and folk roots. The directors wanted to honor the past by having those artists serve as the foundation and inspiration, but will accept change with years to come. They wanted to induct artists who would help preserve the genre, and remind us that it is this industry that has made contributions to this land of ours. Not only do these performers have to uphold the mission of this organization, but they also should be influential, have a professional nature to them, and act to expand the popularity of Country Music. With these goals in mind, the CMA and its organization is able to sort through a wide variety of potential candidates, and select the ones who they believe fit their standard the best.
    One performer who has been inducted into the Country Music HOF since 2009 that meets the criteria mentioned above is Elvis Presley. Not only was he extremely popular when he was inducted, but he also had a charisma and positive influence on Country Music as well. He upheld the values that the CMA wanted to see, and he was very influential on artists who came after him. Lastly, he also expanded the image of Country Music by making the genre of Country Rock more popular, which attracted a wider audience to the genre.
    The potential candidate that I am thinking about inducting into the Country Music HOF is The Eagles, but I am still unsure.

  15. Morgan Lohmeier

    Aimed at creating a historical definition of country music through a hall of fame, the HOF “honor(s) the past – the roots – let(s) the past serve as a fount of inspiration while gladly accept(ing) development and change which comes naturally.” New members are decided by the Country Music Association (CMA) through an election process which inductees are chosen that recognize significant contributions to the advancement of country music. Some criteria the board analyzes in order to pick inductees is their span of influence, scope of activity, basic standard, influence on others, quality vs quantity, professional conduct, personal morals and behaviors, and devotion to others.

    Garth Brooks was inducted into the Country Music HOF in 2012 and fits much of the criteria listed above. Brooks has contributed greatly to the advancement to country music with his love of rodeo and his unique shows and voice. He set sales records with his hits and albums. Brooks’s current RIAA record-sales tally is at more than 128 million-and climbing-making him the top-selling solo artist in history. Brooks is a family man and even in his retirement, still contributes to charities and organizations. He is a legend in the country music industry and has blazed a path for many to aspire to.

  16. Alyssa Buchanan

    The Hall of Fame’s criteria for choosing which artists to induct is largely based on the artists historical value. They founders of the Country Music Association wanted to prove to the critics that country music wasn’t just all about hillbillies making money, but rather that it is a genre that can contend with the others for popularity and still maintain good ethics. This being said, the Hall of Fame is not looking to let in just anyone, they are picky. They are looking for those artists who stand out either in their own sub-genre of country, album sales, or positive publicity. The Hall of Fame does not want a bad rap, so inducting country artists who might challenge the ethics of the past members are usually dismissed. The Hall of Fame is looking to tell the historical story of country music so that people might understand it’s boundaries. They are looking to recognize someone who has made significant contributions to the advancement of country music while still honoring the roots of the past and being inspired by it, and has developed along with the natural changes in the sound.
    Barbara Mandrell, inducted in 2009, fits all of these qualifications. As a young star, she went on well into her career with tv shows, Vegas performances, awards, multiple hit singles and albums and a lovable personality. Her success was tremendous, and even after a car accident she as able to persevere and add to her accomplishments as a Country Artist. She upholds the ethics of the HOF with her clean rap sheet, and she has been a historical icon herself. She adapted to shows, TV, and Radio, and has been a big contender in the country music for many years. She does country music because it’s what she loves, and it shows.

  17. Annie G

    The HOF inducts people who have been extremely successful in country music, that have left legacies that other musicians have followed, and that have strengthened the name of country music in a positive way. Since the HOF is concerned about becoming too pop and being to closely associated with the hillbilly stereotype, this artist would have had to make a positive impact by appealing to other audiences as well as staying relatively close to the country sound.
    Garth Brooks is a performer that was inducted in 2012 that I feel fits this criteria. Brooks grew up listening to traditional country music as well as rock music, which could explain why he was able to reach such a wide variety of people with his music. For example, “Friends in Low Places” was a song that everyone- even my country music hating dad- would sing along too. Garth is the top selling solo artist in history, proving his worth. He also won a Grammy in 1991 along with several other notable awards. Brooks has been more successful than imaginable and was able to reach a variety of audiences, making him a perfect inductee for the HOF.

  18. Elissa Killebrew

    In order to understand the type of artists the Country Music Hall of Fame inducts, you must understand the definition of country music. In the late 1950s, the idea of a HOF was proposed to help solidify the country genre. However, the CMA had difficulty defining what country music actually is until Paul Ackerman said that country music should “honor the past – the roots – let the past serve as a fount of inspiration” but “gladly accept development and change which comes naturally.” A candidate must contribute to the progression of country music, there must be longevity where the candidate covers an uninterrupted span of time, the candidate must have a significant inspirational effect, and the candidate must exude professionalism to enhance the public image of themselves and country music.
    Garth Brooks exhibited these values when he was inducted into the HOF in 2012. According to the Country Music Hall of Fame website, Brooks created “a seismic shift in the popularity and perception of country music.” Along with his record-breaking achievements, this demonstrates his impact in the progression of country music. He honored the roots of country music by having a strong influence from George Jones and Merle Haggard throughout his youth. Brooks created a positive self-image by supporting charities even after retiring in 2001 to settle down and raise his kids. He made a comeback in 2007 and is currently touring across the country. Brooks has made a lasting impact on country music and will be remembered for decades to come, supporting the validity of his Hall of Fame induction.

  19. Adam Keyrouze

    The criteria that is mentioned in the article that the HOF uses to decide who to induct as artists is: how they contributed to the genre’s advancement, achieve leadership in the specific sphere of the genre they were involved in, being a relevant for a time period, how it has affected someone else and that affected the country music, quantity and quality of work, helping others whether it be audiences or other artists, and how they represent the country music genre as a whole by how they act. The most important I would think are influence, quality and quantity, and how they helped the genre advance further.
    Kenny Rogers was inducted in 2013 for meeting this criteria. He has had over 120 song charted in pop and country, therefore he achieved success in multiple genres showing flexibility and helping country music expand to other dimensions of the music industry. He had joint songs and albums to further himself s well as other artists therefore helping the industry by helping these other artists. And won numerous awards at the CMAs, Grammys, and AMAs.

  20. Amanda

    After reading from various sources, it seems as though the HOF doesn’t have a clear, specific criteria for deciding which artists to induct. With so much controversy and arguing over the definition of country and the mission statement for the Hall Of Fame itself, it is clear that country music means something different to every individual person, and for that reason as well as country being such a huge, broad entity, it is extremely difficult to define. However, the HOF has stressed that this person must have left a legacy, made significant and meaningful contributions to America, and served as a fount of inspiration. They want someone who has encompassed the historical culture of country music in an outstanding and impressive manner. It also seems as though they favor those who have left a positive impact or exuded a positive image, as they want to keep country music alive, and allow it to continue to grow and prosper, even among those who may be opposed to the genre. Tradition and history of country music plays a large role in this, and the manner of which the artist incorporates these aspects into their career or music is a great determining factor for their inducting into the HOF. Since each potential inductee can be one of singers, songwriters, musician, publisher, etc, they must create a major influence, as they are competing with all types of country music professionals. I think the most important reason would be a person’s lasting impact and legacy that they have left through country music. This impact should be positive, and something that allowed the genre to thrive, and allows it to continue to thrive and gain new fans, through their impact that would last for years and years. Some people may be extremely popular for a few years, but a HOF inductee should be well known in history throughout decades of time.

    Connie Smith was inducted into the HOF in 2012. One of her ways of leaving a lasting impact on the industry is her success in being the first female country artist to reach a #1 spot on the charts, with her song, “Once A Day.” Her early career was the most significant, but even though she didn’t have an extremely impressive rest of her career, because of this single accomplishment she has made great waves for women in country music, and music in general. Many famous female country artists have even cited her as their favorite artist, proof that Smith made a great impact on her listeners. She has kept a positive image throughout her many years within the country music industry, and is currently working on songs for a new album. She never exploded into major stardom, but this is one of the reasons why she is so impressive. She may not have become a mainstream celebrity, but still was successful in her music sales and song releases, gaining a large fan base and conveying country music in a positive manner. Her success includes 11 Grammy nominations, 20 top ten Billboard singles, and 31 charting albums with three of them reaching #1. She has continued to be a prominent figure in the industry for over 50 years, clearly allowing herself to leave a legacy as she impacts so many different people in every decade.

  21. Matt Wills

    It is an extremely difficult achievement and a huge honor to be inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In order to be inducted, however, there are some very specific guidelines and goals that an artist must achieve. For starters, the artist mustn’t lead a destructive personal life which could reflect badly both on the artist themselves or the country music genre as a whole. The artist must become a leader in some aspect of the industry, whether its songwriting, performing or another key component to making the country music industry the giant it is today. With so much controversy surrounding what the country music industry is today, and specifically surrounding what really is the “true character” of country music, there are other goals that inductees need to reach as well. Such as having a significant inspirational impact on others in the industry and not just producing quality country music hits, but a vast quantity of them as well. Selfless devotion to the industry and furthering country music as a whole was also listed as an important characteristic. Overall, the Country Music Hall of Fame is looking for artists who are selfless, inspirational and contain the capacity to both produce a vast quantity of high quality songs and become a well-recognized leader in Nashville.

    Jimmy Dean was elected in to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, the same year that he died. Born in Plainview, Texas, Dean was a country music singer, a television host, an actor, and of course the creator of Jimmy Dean sausages. Dean had 2 number one singles during his music career along with 28 singles and his position of host on “The Jimmy Dean Show” and acting part in the James Bond movie “Diamonds are Forever.” Jimmy obviously exemplifies the important qualities of being able to produce quality song after quality song, and was an industry leader as exemplified by “The Jimmy Dean Show.” He went beyond the country music industry as an actor in Hollywood and the creator of Jimmy Dean Sausages, and his widespread success, coupled with his music talent and ability to produce so many hits was undoubtedly the reason he was inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Dean never experienced a personal scandal to disgrace the HOF, and, on the contrary, has left a large legacy at Wayland Baptist University with his large $1 million donation to the school and the establishment of the Jimmy Dean Museum. Dean was an obvious choice, between his career, widespread success and lasting legacy, he was perfect as an inductee in to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

  22. Talia

    The CMA’s have released a list on their website sharing the nine criteria that the panelists use when selecting inductees for the Hall of Fame. This list varies from overall achievements, professional conduct and behavior, influence, time period/span, etc. The Country Music Hall of Fame was created as a way to revive the image of the country music genre by showing how key individuals themselves can define country music through their achievements and actions. Since the ultimate reasoning behind the Hall of Fame was to boost the overall image of the country genre I believe today the HOF is putting more importance on the criteria regarding professional manners and actions than truly necessary. Yes, it is important to chose individuals who aren’t just terrible people, however there are some spectacular people who have made a few mistakes or just been plain different who I think will never be given the time of day. I think the CMA’s should put the most importance on the influence the individual had on others, quantity vs. quality, and the scope of their activities.

    Garth Brooks is an incredible example of a Hall of Fame inductee. Garth is an all around musician. He does it all; sings, writes, performs. Garth has all the records and awards to prove he is talented but there is so much more to him. Garth has an iconic voice, some of the best lyrics, and just plain fun songs and a personality that makes him even more special. He is more than your usual artist he is a true entertainer. Garth also has a relationship with his fans unlike any other. Garth’s first number one single was “If Tomorrow Never Comes” off his self titles first album in 1989. and still today twenty six years later his songs are played on the radio, his CD’s are being bought, and he is selling out shows faster than you can blink. Garth Brooks is a timeless artist who will continue to make the country music industry and his fans proud for many years to come.

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