While the CMA Awards turned 50 in 2016 the Country Music Hall of Fame is set to celebrate it's 50th year in 2017. While I have no Idea how many members or which Artists the CMA will induct in their historic year I have made a list of the top 10 performers that I think might just be lucky enough to get the call this year.
#1 Johnny Horton
The Country Music Hall of Fame can and should correct a huge error by inducting Johnny Horton into the Hall this year. His death came before there was even a CMA and Horton was just 35 years old when he passed away in 1960. While his Rockabilly sound provided a huge influence for other artists, his “Historic” songs like The Battle of New Orleans & North to Alaska have also made him a pop culture icon even today. It’s unbelievable that he has yet to be inducted into the country music hall of fame.
#2 Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich is a throwback to the Sun Records days but his career really took off in 1973 with his two biggest hits Behind Closed Doors and The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. The Silver Fox combined a bit of Jazz, and Rhythm and Blues with his music making him an innovator that deserves to be in the Hall of fame. He also had 9 number one hits and won the Entertainer of the year award from the CMA in 1974. Lighting the Envelope on fire at the 1975 CMA Awards when announcing John Denver as the Entertainer of the year just might be a grudge the CMA is ready to overlook.
#3 Eddie Rabbitt
Eddie Rabbit should be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame just for simply writing Elvis Presley’s Kentucky Rain but he was also a fantastic entertainer. He is most remembered for his 1980 hit I Love a Rainy Night or Drivin’ My Life Away but Eddie Rabbitt had a career that saw him rack up 17 number one hits and lasted over 30 and was cut short by Lung Cancer. Garth Brooks is among those who have credited Eddie Rabbitt with being a huge influence on his career.
#4 Mickey Gilley
Mickey Seems to have been overlooked by the CMA Right from the moment his debut single Room Full of Roses went to number one in 1974. With 7 number one hits between 1974 and 1977 Mickey Gilley seemed to reinvent his sound in 1980 and racked up another 10 number one hits between 1980 and 1983 giving him 17 number one hits. It was also his famous Gilleys club along with his music that helped make Urban Cowboy a huge hit on the movie screen in the summer of 1980.
#5 Hank Williams Jr.
As the CMA Entertainer of the year in 1987 and 1988 Hank Jr. deserves to be in the Country Music Hall of fame sooner or later. Who knows if he hadn’t been so outspoken in his beliefs over the years he might even have been inducted already. It got him kicked off of Monday Night Football and it wouldn’t be outrageous to think it’s what is holding him back from the Hall. Hanks Music is a combination of his Outlaw and Urban Music that saw him appeal to many people in the early 80’s with 8 number one hits in the decade alone but his career is still going and has already lasted over 50 years.
#6 Ricky Skaggs
The CMA Knew what they were doing when they awarded Ricky Skaggs as the Horizon Award winner in 1982. He has gone on to have and incredible career that has seen him return to his Blue Grass Roots but also provided some incredible country music that almost forces you out of your chair and onto the Dance floor. Skaggs was also the Male Vocalist of the year in ’82 and Entertainer of the year in 1985 adding his unique voice and great lyrics to his incredible music. Make it 10 number one hits and a fantastic catalog of music for Ricky Skaggs that is sure to have him inducted soon.
#7 Jerry Lee Lewis
Inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 1986 with Elvis Presley Jerry Lee Lewis also deserves just like Elvis to also be included in the Country Music Hall of Fame. As the first “Wild Man” of Rock and Roll Jerry Lee Lewis was also a success with the country music audience. Songs like Whole Lotta Shakin’ and Great Balls of Fire were popular enough with the older audience in the 50’s to make them both number one hits but a decade later a more subdued Jerry Lee Lewis found himself leaning more towards country music than Rock. He had 4 number one hits but charted many more hits and likely would have had even more success if only his audience could look past the scandal of his Marriage to his 13 year old cousin. None the less the Killer’s music speaks for itself and he deserves to be the 3rd member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll hall of fame with Elvis and Johnny Cash.
#8 Tanya Tucker
Tanya Tucker exploded onto the Country music scene when she was just 13 years old with hits like Delta Dawn and What’s your Mama’s Name. Over the next 3 decades she would have almost as many scandals as she had hits but her star has never faded. Her music had her nominated for Countless awards from 1973 and onwards and in 1991 she was finally recognized by the CMA as the female vocalist of the year. She’s had 10 number one hits in a career that has lasted over 44 years and she’s only 58 years old.
#9 Bellamy Brothers
In my opinion David and Howard Bellamy have never received the accolades they deserve. They’re innovators, great song writers, talented musicians and they’re harmonies are a throwback to the days of the Louvin and Everly Brothers. They’ve also had 10 number one hits including iconic songs like Let your Love Flow, If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me and Redneck Girl. Despite being the most nominated Duo in CMA history they’ve never managed to make it onto the stage to accept any of those CMA Awards. It’s time to give these two “Old Hippies” the Mic and they’re place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
#10 Rosanne Cash
Her dad may have cast a large shadow but with her voice and talent Rosanne Cash stepped out from that shadow in the 80’s with 11 number one hits. She is so talented she would have been a success had her last name been Snuffleupagus. Rosanne like her dad though has found a way to blend a little bit of Rock, Blues and Pop into her music to maximize her appeal to a larger audience. She’s also been overlooked far too often by the Country Music Association but it may be time to put her name beside her fathers in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
OK that’s the top 10 but here are some other name that I’ll throw out there just for fun.
Earl Thomas Conely
Brooks N’ Dunn
And just because he’s my all-time favorite
Dwight Yoakam !!