Hall of Fame Welcomes the Class of 2013

photo by Kendra Gene Motycka

Congratulations go out to Kenny Rogers, Bobby Bare and colorful producer "Cowboy" Jack Clement, who were announced today (April 10) as the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Kenny will be inducted in the "Modern Era Artist" category while Bobby is being inducted into the "Veteran Era Artist" category. "Cowboy" Jack takes his place in the "Non-Performer" category, which is awarded every third year.

Kenny's musical journey has taken him from jazz in the 1950s to folk group The New Christy Minstrels in the '60s and pop success with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in the late '60s and early '70s. But when he changed direction to become a solo country act in 1975, his star truly began to shine. With hits like "Luciille," "The Gambler" and "Lady," Kenny was able to cross over into the pop world while maintaining his country credibility. He also recorded smash duets with Dottie West, including "Every Time Two Fools Collide," and teamed up with Dolly Parton for the No. 1 hit "Islands in the Stream." Kenny recorded 21 No. 1 hits during his career and was named the Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year in 1979.

Bobby scored his first major hit 50 years ago with "Detroit City" and was a fixture on the charts through the mid-1980s. His best-known hits include "Five Hundred Miles Away From Home," "Miller's Cave," "Marie Laveau" and "The Streets of Baltimore." He released an acclaimed album, Darker Than Light, this past year.

"Cowboy" Jack Clement is the legendary producer behind Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and also wrote Johnny's hits "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way." Among other artists he worked with are John Prine, Hank Williams Jr. and U2, producing several tracks for the band's Rattle and Hum album. He also opened and operated recording studios, including the first 16-track facility in Nashville.

The announcement ceremony proved an emotional time for the three new inductees, but especially for Kenny, who became teary-eyed as he talked about his family. 'When I was young, my dad said, 'Son, you have to think big to accomplish small,' and the Country Music Hall of Fame was as big as it gets," Kenny said. "He wanted that for me." Following the ceremony, Kenny spoke with Country Weekly about the honor. "It's a great place to land. I think if this had happened at the peak of my career, I don't think I could have appreciated it as much," said Kenny, who turns 75 in August of this year. "To have it happen now, it means so much more."

Kenny, Bobby and "Cowboy" Jack will be officially inducted into the Hall at the annual Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum later this year.

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