CMA Announces Country Music Hall of Fame Class of 2013
NASHVILLE – The Country Music Association announced today that Bobby Bare, “Cowboy” Jack Clement, and Kenny Rogers will become the newest members of the revered Country Music Hall of Fame.
Rogers will be inducted in the “Modern Era Artist” category, while Bare will be inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category. Clement will be inducted in the “Non-Performer” category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the “Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980,” and “Songwriter” categories. Bare, Clement, and Rogers will increase membership in the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame from 118 to 121 members.
“The highest musical honor achievable for a Country Music artist or industry leader is to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and these are all outstanding and highly deserving individuals,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “‘Cowboy’ has been responsible for producing many of the iconic songs in Country Music. Bobby pioneered the Country concept album and was one of the first artists to take the format to Europe. And Kenny’s crossover success throughout a lengthy career introduced Country Music to a much wider audience.”
“This is big – an honor and the validation of a dream, totally unexpected,” said Bare. “Now I’ll be famous forever. Thanks to all of my supporters and thank you CMA.”
“I’ve been chosen for the Country Music Hall of Fame? I thought I was already in the Hall of Fame,” said Clement. “I could have gotten in there any time I wanted. Kyle [Young] gave me a key.”
“When I was young, my dad said, ‘Son, you have to think big to accomplish small’ and the Country Music Hall of Fame was as big as it gets,” said Rogers. “He wanted that for me. So every record I’ve ever made, every concert I’ve performed, and every song I’ve written was done for the single purpose of achieving that goal.
“I’m sure you can imagine how special it is and how exciting it was when Steve Moore called me with the news of my acceptance. It’s not the end of my journey, but it is certainly the high point, no matter what else I accomplish. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the members who voted for me and all the friends who encouraged and believed in me, and my dad, for his vision of success.”
Induction ceremonies for Bare, Clement, and Rogers will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the new CMA Theater later this year. Since 2007, the Museum’s Medallion Ceremony, an annual reunion of the Hall of Fame membership, has served as the official rite of induction for new members.
“The announcement of new Hall of Fame members is always a cause for celebration,” said Kyle Young, Director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “I find it remarkable that all three 2013 honorees were born in the 1930s during the worldwide Great Depression and commercial Country Music’s formative years. They were present for the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, the ‘60s folk revival, the ascent of hard Country, and the rise of sophisticated pop Country with a global impact. ‘Cowboy’ Jack, Bobby, and Kenny are unique personalities whose contributions to the canon of American popular music are inerasable.”
CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music’s highest honor.
“Cowboy” Jack Clement – “We’re in the fun business. If we’re not having fun, we’re not doing our job.”
“Cowboy” Jack Clement has done his job well. He’s the only person ever to produce recordings by members of the Rock and Roll, Country, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Polka Halls of Fame. And, he’s had a whole lot of fun!
Born April 5, 1931 in Memphis, Tenn., Clement is described as a catalyst who is “the greatest combination of musician, producer, songwriter, publisher, performer, engineer, executive, entrepreneur, cock-eyed visionary, and certified raconteur in modern music history.”
He began playing music as a teenager, eventually learning guitar, dobro, mandolin, steel guitar, ukulele, and bass. At 17, he joined the Marines but continued playing music during off duty hours at nearby Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. clubs.
In 1953, Clement made his first record for the Boston-based Sheraton label but did not pursue a music career, opting to study at Memphis State University for two years. He earned his nickname “Cowboy” then for his role in a made up radio show with pals Allen Reynolds and Dickey Lee.
In 1956, Clement and bandleader/nightclub owner Slim Wallace built a recording studio in Wallace’s garage and started Fernwood Records. Their first recordings were Billy Lee Riley’s “Trouble Bound” and “Think Before You Go.” They took these recordings to Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio to create a mixed master. Phillips heard the tapes and immediately hired Clement and signed Riley.
While at Sun, Clement worked with such seminal stars of rock ‘n’ roll history as Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. He also discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis while Phillips was away, leaving a tape including “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” on Phillips’ desk.
Clement’s work was especially important to Johnny Cash’s career. He wrote “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way,” big crossover hits for The Man in Black. Other Cash hits written by Clement include “Katy Too,” “Everybody Loves A Nut,” and “The One on the Right is On The Left.” He also arranged the iconic pop-Country smash “Ring of Fire,” adding the Mariachi trumpets which gave the song its signature sound.
In 1961, Clement moved to Beaumont, Texas and established Hall-Clement Music with partner Bill Hall. He next produced the million-selling “Patches” for Dickey Lee. One year later, Clement pitched one of the new company’s songs to George Jones. The song, Lee’s “She Thinks I Still Care,” stayed at No. 1 for six weeks and reignited Jones’ career.
The success of “Ring of Fire” made Clement a much sought-after producer. Weary from the Beaumont commute, he moved back to Nashville in 1965, becoming an assistant to RCA head Chet Atkins as a producer, engineer, and talent scout. He soon presented Atkins demos he produced on a former minor league baseball player named Charley Pride. With Clement overseeing that artist’s recordings and writing his first two hits, “Just Between You and Me” and “I Know One,” Pride became one of RCA’s biggest stars and broke Country Music’s “color line.”
In 1970, he opened Jack Clement Recording Studios, the first 16-track facility in Nashville. Fabulously decorated by James Tilton, famed for his Oh! Calcutta set designs, the studio promptly yielded Ray Stevens’ pop No. 1, “Everything Is Beautiful.” He also renovated an old house on 16thAvenue South into Jack’s Tracks (now Allentown Studios), where Allen Reynolds would later craft career records for Crystal Gayle and Kathy Mattea as well as all of Country Music Hall of Fame member Garth Brooks’ hits.
Clement branched out in 1972 to produce the horror movie “Dear Dead Delilah,” starring Agnes Moorhead, Michael Ansara, and Will Geer. That same year, Clement founded JMI Records with Reynolds, soon launching Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams to stardom.
Bobby Bare, Ray Charles, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, and Hank Snow have recorded Clement compositions. In addition to producing Pride’s first 18 records and Jennings’ breakthrough Dreaming My Dreams album, Clement produced recordings for Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Albert Collins, Vic Damone, Ivory Joe Hunter, Frank Ifield, Moon Mullican, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams Jr., Mac Wiseman, and polka master Frankie Yankovic. Clement also recorded and released two critically acclaimed solo albums.
In 1988, Clement was approached by U2 to produce a few tracks at the old Sun Studios. That album, Rattle and Hum, has reached quintuple Platinum certification in the U.S.
A 2005 documentary about Clement’s life, “Shakespeare Was A Big George Jones Fan,” featured many of his famous friends and included extensive home movie footage from Clement’s archives. Produced by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville, the film was shown at the Nashville and Tribeca Film Festivals. That same year Clement launched a weekly program for SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s Outlaw Country Channel. The “Cowboy Jack Clement Show” features music from artists representing the genre he helped create.
In late June 2011, the Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa, Clement’s home and legendary studio, caught fire. Rare memorabilia and master recordings were lost but the indomitable 82-year-old producer/songwriter/musician rebuilt his home/studio and carried on.
As a testament to Clement’s continuing influence, he was recently honored by an all-star tribute concert, featuring musical performances and congratulations from The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Bobby Bare, Bono, T. Bone Burnett, Marshall Chapman, daughter Alison Clement, former President Bill Clinton, Rodney Crowell, Jakob Dylan, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Kris Kristofferson, First Lady Michelle Obama, Charley Pride, John Prine, John C. Reilly, Marty Stuart, and Taylor Swift.
Clement was among the first inductees into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973. He’s also in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Music City Walk of Fame. And he continues to produce great music and great quotes: “Despite all the things wrong with the world, there’s still some great places to eat.” And yes, he’s still having fun!
Veterans Era Artist
Bobby Bare – Robert Joseph “Bobby” Bare was born April 7, 1935, in Ironton, Ohio. His mother died when Bare was five and his father was not able to earn enough money to support the family, forcing them to split up. By the time he was 15, Bare was working on a farm to support himself. He began playing music in his late teens after learning on a homemade guitar.
At 18, Bare moved to Los Angeles to be a part of the West Coast music scene. In 1958 he recorded a demo of his talking blues song “The All American Boy” for his friend Bill Parsons to learn. The Ohio-based Fraternity Records bought the song for $50 and released Bare’s version, but erroneously credited the recording to Parsons.
“The All American Boy” became the second biggest single in the U.S. in December of 1959, peaking at No. 2. Before Bare, who was in Ohio at the time, could enjoy the success of “The All American Boy,” he was drafted into the Army.
After returning to civilian life, Bare continued to record for Fraternity and had success with songs such as “Lorena” and “Book of Love,” and even appeared on “American Bandstand.” Bare was also having modest success as a songwriter during this time and had three of his songs featured in the movie “Teenage Millionaire.”
Even though Bare was experiencing modest success, he found pop music unrewarding and started writing songs with a distinctive blend of Country, folk, and pop. His big break in Country came in 1962 when Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Records. By the end of the year he had a hit with “Shame On Me.” The following year he recorded “Detroit City,” which became Bare’s second consecutive single to make it on both the Country and pop charts and won a Grammy for Best Country & Western Recording. During this time he also toured with The Beach Boys, Bobby Darin, Jay & the Americans, and Roy Orbison.
His follow-up single, “Five Hundred Miles Away From Home,” peaked in the Top 10 on both the Country and pop charts. His chart success continued with hits including “Miller’s Cave,” “Four Strong Winds,” “It’s Alright,” “The Streets of Baltimore,” and “(Margie’s at) The Lincoln Park Inn.” Bare’s RCA recordings solidified his standing as a major artist, not only in Country, but in pop music as well.
In the spring of 1964, Bare, Atkins, Jim Reeves, and the Anita Kerr Singers embarked on the first-ever European commercial Country Music tour playing in almost every major European city, including Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels, and Stockholm.
“To this day I am one of the biggest stars ever in Scandinavia,” Bare has stated. “Anytime I want to be a superstar, I go to Scandinavia and pretend I’m the Rolling Stones.”
That same year, Bare was given the opportunity to showcase his acting chops. He had roles in “A Distant Trumpet,” a Western starring Troy Donahue and Suzanne Pleshette, and the pilot for the television series “No Time for Sergeants,” but decided that music was his calling.
Bare continued to have success while signed to RCA. He recorded two duet projects with Skeeter Davis and had a Top 5 hit with “The Game of Triangles,” a wife-husband-other woman song featuring Liz Anderson and Norma Jean. He also recorded an album with the British Country band The Hillsiders, and garnered four Grammy nominations and one win during his stint with the label.
Bare signed with Mercury Records in 1970 and immediately scored a Top 3 hit with “How I Got to Memphis.” He followed it up with two Top 10 hits, “Come Sundown,” and “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends,” both penned by Kris Kristofferson.
Bare returned to RCA in 1973 and scored a Top 15 with “Ride Me Down Easy.” In 1974, he released a double album of Shel Silverstein songs entitled Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies. Considered the first Country concept album, the record was a hit with Country as well as rock fans and included the Grammy-nominated hit “Daddy What If,” a duet with his then five-year-old son Bobby Jr., as well as Bare’s No. 1, “Marie Laveau.”
Bare signed with Columbia Records in 1978 and continued to have hits and release critically acclaimed albums.
From 1983 to 1988, Bare hosted “Bobby Bare and Friends” on The Nashville Network. The talk show featured songwriters performing their hits as well as being interviewed by Bare and received two CableACE Award nominations.
In 1998, Bare formed the Country supergroup Old Dogs, with friends Waylon Jennings, Jerry Reed, and Mel Tillis. That same year the quartet released an album on Atlantic Records. The album’s content was written primarily by Silverstein and was based on insights into aging, after Bare told Silverstein that there were “no good songs about growing old.”
In 2005, Bare was coaxed out of retirement to record The Moon Was Blue. Produced by his son, the album featured a collection of songs the veteran singer always loved but never recorded.
Last year Bare released Darker Than Light, featuring a diverse array of songs from folk tunes such as “Shenandoah” and “Tom Dooley,” to Country classics like “Tennessee Stud,” to U2’s rock classic “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Recorded at the legendary RCA Studio B, where many of Bare’s earliest tracks were cut 50 years ago, Darker Than Light brings the Country veteran full circle.
Modern Era Artist
Kenny Rogers – Kenneth Ray Rogers was born Aug. 21, 1938, in Houston, Texas. His father Edward, a carpenter, and his mother Lucille, a nurse’s assistant, raised Rogers and his seven siblings in one of the poorest sections of town. Despite the humble setting, Rogers learned to play guitar and joined his first band, the Scholars, while still a senior in high school. The doo-wop group released three singles before disbanding. Shortly thereafter, Kenny performed on “American Bandstand,” singing “That Crazy Feeling,” as Kenneth Rogers.
Next, Rogers joined a jazz group called The Bobby Doyle Trio, playing stand-up bass and singing harmony vocals. The trio disbanded in 1965. Following the break up, he landed a solo deal with Mercury Records and released a handful of singles.
In 1966, Rogers joined The New Christy Minstrels as a singer and bass player. He stayed with the folk group for a year before leaving with three other members to form the First Edition. After signing with Reprise, the group released “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In).” The song became a Top 5 hit and within a year the group was billed as Kenny Rogers & the First Edition. The group continued to have hits on both the pop and Country charts with such songs as “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” “Reuben James,” and “Something’s Burning;” and even had its own syndicated television show, “Rollin’.” Rogers left the group in 1974 and signed on to United Artists as a solo act in 1975.
Rogers had his first major hit as a solo artist in 1977 with “Lucille,” which not only topped the Country chart and earned a CMA Award for Single of the Year, but was also a major crossover hit peaking at No. 5 on the pop charts. On the strength of this single, the album, Kenny Rogers,reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Albums Chart.
Between 1978 and 1980, Rogers released three No. 1, multi-million selling albums, Love or Something Like It, The Gambler, and Kenny. He also enjoyed five straight No. 1 Country singles – “Love or Something Like It,” “The Gambler,” “She Believes In Me,” “You Decorated My Life,” and “Coward of the County.”
Also in the late ‘70s Rogers teamed with close friend Dottie West and recorded a series of duets.Every Time Two Fools Collide and Classics – both duet albums – and West’s Wild West produced the hit songs “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight,” “What Are We Doin’ in Love,” “All I Ever Need Is You,” and “‘Til I Can Make It On My Own,” each one now a Country standard. The duo toured for several years, selling out stadiums and arenas as well as appearing on several network television specials. It was during this time that West credited Rogers with taking her career to new audiences.
By the beginning of the ‘80s Rogers had earned both Country and pop superstardom. His recording of Lionel Richie’s “Lady” in 1980 spent six weeks at the top of the pop charts. The collaboration with Richie was so successful that the R&B singer produced Rogers’ 1981 project,Share Your Love. The album was a chart topper and contained the hits “I Don’t Need You,” “Through the Years,” and “Share Your Love With Me.”
The year 1983 saw Rogers collaborating with pop icons the Bee Gees on his album Eyes That See in the Dark, with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees as lead producer. The first single from this collection, “Islands in the Stream,” a duet with Dolly Parton, reached the No. 1 spot on theBillboard Hot 100 as well as the magazine’s Country and Adult Contemporary singles charts. Additionally the song was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping two million copies. Rogers and Parton would reunite in 1984 for a holiday album, Once Upon a Christmas, and TV special, “A Christmas To Remember.” The pair would record another chart-topping duet, “Real Love,” in 1985.
Over the next several years, Rogers scored several top Country hits, including “Twenty Years Ago,” “Morning Desire,” and “Tomb of the Unknown Love.” Rogers was also one of 45 artists who participated in the recording of “We Are the World,” a song to raise money for African famine relief.
Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, while not busy recording and touring, Rogers garnered success as an actor, appearing in the movie “Six Pack,” as well as made-for-TV movies such as “The Gambler” (and four follow-up “Gambler” TV movies), “Coward of the County,” and “Christmas in America.” He also served as host and narrator of A&E’s historical series, “The Real West.” And he displayed his talent as a well-respected photographer, publishing three books of his photos,Kenny Rogers’ America, Your Friends and Mine, and This Is My Country, a book of photographs of some of Country Music’s greatest artists and performers.
Rogers formed his own label in 1998 and returned to the charts with the hit single “The Greatest.” His follow-up single, “Buy Me a Rose,” climbed to the top of the charts in May of 2000, making Rogers, at age 61, the oldest solo artist in chart history to have a No. 1 record on the Country charts. That same year, the RIAA awarded Rogers a Diamond Award, celebrating more than 10 million sales for his Greatest Hits album. Rogers continues to be successful in the 21st century, having released the critically acclaimed Water and Bridges in 2006 and, in 2011, his first gospel album, The Love of God.
Last year Rogers became a New York Times best-selling author when he published his autobiography, Luck or Something Like It – A Memoir. The first Country artist to draw crowds in arenas and stadiums, Rogers was the only artist to perform at both last year’s CMA Music Festival and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, demonstrating the universal appeal of this legendary performer. This summer, he will represent Country Music as one of the headliners at Britain’s Glastonbury Festival, the world’s largest outdoor music and performing arts spectacle, and as the headline performer at Festival Timitar – a World Music festival – in Agadir, Morocco. He is also putting the finishing touches on a new album for Warner Music Nashville to be released later this year.
To date, Rogers is the eighth-best-selling male artist of all time with one Diamond album, 19 Platinum albums, 31 Gold albums, and sales of more than 120 million records worldwide. He has charted a hit song in the each of the past six decades. His 28 Billboard AC Top 10s make him the sixth-best all time and fourth-best among men, trailing only Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Elvis Presley.
He is the only male artist to have AC Top 10s on the Billboard charts in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s; and no core Country artist has had more AC crossover hits. He hosted the CMA Awards four times and has won five CMA Awards, three Grammy Awards, 18 American Music Awards, and 11 People’s Choice Awards. In addition to his numerous industry and professional accolades, he received the Horatio Alger Award, which is given to those who have distinguished themselves despite humble beginnings.