It has long been lamented that today’s country music could take a lesson as to what real country music sounds like. Artists could get that lesson by listening to the newest inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Country Music Association announced on Tuesday morning that Jimmy Dean, Ferlin Husky, Don Williams, and Billy Sherrill will be inducted in a formal ceremony later this year.
Dean and Husky are to be inducted in the category of “Veterans Era Artist”, Williams in the “Modern Era Artist”, and Sherrill in the “Non-Performer” category. Eligibility for each category is defined as the following:
Veterans Era – Eligible 45 years after first achieving national prominence.
Modern Era – Eligible 20 years after first achieving national prominence.
The Non-Performer category is presented every three years, rotated with the categories of Songwriter and Recording and/or Touring Musician.
Jimmy Dean is not only is known for his music career, but also was a pioneer in television, helping to give more exposure to country music. His debut single, “Bummin Around”, reached #5 on Billboard’s Country Charts in 1953. He recorded his signature song “Big Bad John” in 1961, with it reaching #1 on Billboard’s country and pop charts and it won a Grammy for best country & western recording. Below is a video of the recording of this song.
From 1963–66 he hosted his own variety show on ABC, introducing America to the likes of George Jones, Buck Owens, and Roger Miller – and yes, he is the face of Jimmy Dean Sausage. Click here
to learn more about Dean.
Ferlin Husky worked as an actor for many years before moving to Nashville in 1952, and recorded a recitation for Jean Shepard's single, "A Dear John Letter", which eventually reached #1 on Billboard's Country chart. As a solo artist, Husky's first chart success came in 1955 with "I Feel Better All Over (More Than Anywhere's Else", which peaked at #4. He is best known for his dramatic performance of "Gone" and for "Wings of a Dove", both of which spent 10 weeks at #1. Click here to learn more about Husky.
Don Williams first reached the top of the charts in 1974 with “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me. He then had 16 more #1 hits, including “Say It Again”, “You’re My Best Friend”, “(Turn Out the Light and) Love Me Tonight”, “I’m Just a Country Boy”, and “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend”. He won the Country Music Association Award for male vocalist in 1978 for one of his greatest hits, “Tulsa Time”. Below is a video of Williams performing this classic song in 1982. Click here to learn more about Williams.
Producer Billy Sherrill drew upon rock 'n' roll and R&B influences in his songwriting, and joined Epic Records' Nashville operation in 1964 as an in-house producer. Inspired by Phil Spector's famous "wall of sound" production technique, with string sections and background harmonies, he worked as both a producer and songwriter on the hits “Almost Persuaded" by David Houston, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" by Charlie Rich, and "Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette (whom he also discovered). He also produced "He Stopped Loving Her Today" for George Jones, and worked with artists such as Tanya Tucker, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Marty Robbins, Janie Fricke, and Elvis Costello.
Click here to learn more about Sherrill.