The Country Music Association announced today that Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bare, and ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement will be the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Grand Ole Opry host and Hall of Fame member “Whisperin'” Bill Anderson presided over the announcement at a ceremony this morning in Nashville, along with the CMA president Steve Moore and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum director Kyle Young.
Considered the highest honor in the genre, the Hall of Fame includes such legends as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton. Last year’s inductees were Garth Brooks, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, and Connie Smith.
From his first hit in 1966 with the psychedelic Mickey Newbury song “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”–one of many he cut with his band the First Edition–on up to his ’70s and ’80s smashes like “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” and “Islands in the Stream” (with Dolly Parton), Kenny Rogers racked up dozens of hit songs and sold albums and songs by the millions. He’s easily one of the biggest and best-known artists, country or otherwise, of the past few decades.
Kenny was inducted as a “modern era artist,” while Bobby Bare was included as a “veteran era artist”–which is curious, since they both started their careers and had their first hits only a few years apart in the 1960s.