Country Music Hall Of Fame Announces Inductees
The Country Music Association says because of a voting tie, Dean and Husky will both be inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category while Don Williams makes his Hall of Fame debut through the “Modern Era Artist” category and Sherrill in the “Non-Performer” category.
When informed that he was being inducted, Dean remarked that he thought he “was already in there,” and that he is “honored.”
Although Dean’s remark is just the latest example of the performer’s legendary sense of humor, it is somewhat of a surprise that he isn’t already in the Hall. Although better known in some circles today as the Jimmy Dean behind Jimmy Dean Sausage, the “‘Dean’ of Country Music” also worked in radio and television back in the day, hosting his own radio show during the 1950s as well as CBS News’ “The Morning Show” which aired in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Dean was also the first guest host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”
It was his spoken word single, “Big Bad John,” that propelled him to the top of the charts in 1961 and snagged him a Grammy for Best Country & Western Recording. In 1963 he got his own show on ABC Television – “The Jimmy Dean Show” – which also introduced Muppet character Rowlf to an unsuspecting world.
Husky is another country performer you might think has already been inducted into the Hall. Husky’s career began in 1953 when he performed the recitation on Jean Shepard’s recording of “A Dear John Letter,” which ended up at the top of the charts. Husky would eventually have his own hits, including ‘Gone” in 1957, “Wings Of A Dove” in 1960, “Once in 1966, “Just For You” in 1967. His biggest chart success was “I Believe In You,” released in 1980.
Williams’ hits include “The Shelter Of Your Eyes,” “We Should Be Together,” “You’re My Best Friend” and “Tulsa Time.” His most successful single – “I Believe In You” – was released in 1980.
Williams was also named CMA Male Vocalist of the Year in 1978 and appeared in movies such as “W.W’ and the Dixie Dancekings” and “Smokey and the Bandit II.”
While Dean, Husky and Williams are all performers, Billy Sherrill made his mark on country music behind the scenes, discovering Tammy Wynette as well as producing the singer’s many early hits including “My Elusive Dreams,” I Don’t Wanna Play House,” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and her signature tune “Stand By Your Man.”
Sherrill was also responsible for bringing Wynette’s then-husband – George Jones – to Epic Records in 1968 and produced may of the singer’s hits including “We Can Make It” and “These Days I Barely Get By.”
Other country artists receiving the Sherrill “touch” included Charlie Rich, Barbara Mandrell, Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe and Marty Robbins. He also produced Elvis Costello’s country album, Almost Blue.
Induction ceremonies will take place later this year. For more information, click here for the Country Music Hall of Fame Web site.