Three country music icons were inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday in Nashville, with Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bare and "Cowboy" Jack Clement being honored at the ceremony.
Rogers is the most well known among mainstream country listeners for his contributions to the genre. During an era where country music didn't cross over into the Top 40 very often, Rogers has a string of singles that broke into the pop charts, such as "Islands In The Stream" and "Lucille." A number of performers, including Garth Brooks and Allison Krauss, spoke well of the performer, and Darius Rucker performed "Lucille."
"I'm flattered, I'm honored and I'm nervous," Rogers said. "What I've realized is that success is not a happening, it's a journey. So as I run back through my history and look at all the things that happened to me and how I got to where I am, this is like the culmination of my career because I've done pretty much everything else. And I think without this it would have been incomplete."
Clement served as the first producer at Sun Records, and as such had a significant role in the history of both country and rock 'n' roll. He's most renowned for his work with Johnny Cash, most notably his idea to place the mariachi horns in "Ring of Fire." Clement was also responsible for the discovery of Jerry Lee Lewis, including the recording of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." Clement also discovered Charley Pride, who became the biggest seller since Elvis Presley for RCA Records during the '70s.
Clement died during August unfortunately, but the announcement of his eventual induction had been made.
Bare helped to bridge the gap between "popular" country and "outlaw" country during the '70s. Although he had plenty of radio success, he insisted on working with songs written by relative fringe artists such as Kris Kristofferson and Shel Silverstein, versus more popular and "safe" songs of other writers. Outlaw countrymen such as Waylon Jennings would cite Bare as an influence just as much as the more mainstream artists did. Bare, 78, also made an appearance at the ceremony.
"[Being inducted] means I will forever be referred to as a hall of famer," he said. "It sounds real good."