THREE country music legends have just been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Bobby Bare, Kenny Rogers and Jack Clement are the latest icons to be rightly bestowed one of the highest honours in country music.
For more than 50 years Bobby Bare has been one of country music's most respected performers and recording artists. As far back as 1953 he had signed up with a record label as a songwriter, a career which was to be interrupted by his "call up" to the army.
His military stint over, Bare recorded for Fraternity until Chet Atkins signed him to RCA in early 1962. Bare's moving rendition of 'Detroit City' became his first Top Ten Country hit and climbed to number 16 in the pop charts in 1963. It also earned him a Grammy for Best Country & Western Recording.
I compered a show for him in the Ulster Hall in the 1980s and I can say he was one of the most gentle and laid back people I have ever met.
The name Jack Clement may not mean anything to you but he became one of the most respected and influential figures in the country music industry. He has gained success not only as a songwriter, but also as a studio engineer, producer, recording studio owner, music publisher, and artist. If Charley Pride is talking about music it is a name which he will mention right away as Clement produced or co- produced Pride's first thirteen RCA albums.
Always a favourite for all ages, Kenny Rogers knew that he wanted to pursue a music career even when he was in high school. Fusing folk, rock, and country, his latter band, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition had an international hit with 'Ruby Don't Take your Love to Town'.
'Love Lifted Me' became his first solo top-20 country hit in 1975. Two years later, Rogers topped the country charts with 'Lucille' and it also brought Rogers his first Grammy Award-this time for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
This was to be followed by 'The Gambler', still one of the top ten most requested songs on my country shows.
In 1977 in Nashville Billie Jo Spears, myself and a couple of others got locked in the hospitality bar of the United Artists record building whilst listening to some of Kenny's songs to pick his follow-up to 'Lucille - I am not too sure what we picked!
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