Kenny Rogers, Cowboy Jack Clement and Bobby Bare will be this year’s new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The announcement was made April 10 at a ceremony held by the Country Music Association in Nashville. Rogers will be inducted in the Modern Era category, Clement will be added to the Non-Performer category and Bare will have the honor of being inducted in the Veterans Era category.
“The accomplishments I’ve had all pale by comparison to this one,” said an emotional Rogers at the podium.
Rogers, who has stints as a singer, producer, actor, author and restauranteur on his resume, has nine No. 1 country albums and 21 No. 1 country singles under his belt. Not only that—Rogers also became one of country’s first crossover stars due to his No.1 hit, “Lady,” produced by Lionel Richie.
“It’s now more of a personal reward than a professional reward because of my kids,” Rogers said. “I can get a chance to share it with them and let them see what I did with my life.”
Clement has been in the music game for a while; many people say he should have been inducted a while ago. “Jack Clement isn’t in the Country Music Hall of Fame? What the f—!” producer T Bone Burnett said during a January tribute concert for Clement, who is battling liver cancer.
Clement was the house producer and engineer at Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios. There, he discovered Jerry Lee Lewis while Phillips was on vacation. He later worked for RCA Nashville. Clements has been credited on songs by Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, U2 and others.
“I was totally surprised,” Clement told Rolling Stone. “I’m glad to go in with [Bobby Bare] and Kenny Rogers.”
Bare debuted in 1958 with his own version of Bill Parsons’ Elvis Presley parody, “The All-American Boy.” Bare joins fellow artists Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash in the hall of fame.
“It was unexpected,” Bare told Rolling Stone. “It’s a validation of [my] career.”