Kenny Rogers, Cowboy Jack Clement and Bobby Bare were named today as the next three members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. All three were born during the Depression, have experience in multiple genres of music–and very long resumes. Plaques featuring their images will be added to the rotunda at the Hall of Fame and Museum later this year, but in the meantime, here’s a rundown of the work that landed them the honor.
Modern Era Inductee: KENNY ROGERS
Rogers sang and played doo-wop, jazz and folk music before forming country group First Edition in 1967. That ensemble had hits on both the country and pop charts for almost a decade and its own syndicated television show. In 1975, Rogers began a solo career that netted 28 top ten hits on the Adult Contemporary Charts.
Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond and Elton John are the only men to have more career Adult Contemporary hits than Rogers.
- his first solo hit, “Lucille,” was named CMA Single of the Year and pushed the album Kenny Rogers to number one on country charts
- released three number one, multimillion selling albums in a row: Love or Something Like It, The Gambler and Kenny
- five consecutive number one singles: “Love or Something Like It,” “The Gambler,” “She Believes in Me,” “You Decorated My Life” and “Coward of the County”
- released a series of duet albums with Dottie West, the pair also toured and taped network TV specials together
- collaborated with Lionel Richie on an album after his version of Richie’s “Lady” spent six weeks at top of pop charts
- collaborated with BeeGees on Eyes That See in the Dark
- “Islands in the Stream,” a duet with Dolly Parton, was number one on Hot 100, Country and Adult Contemporary charts, certified double platinum
- recorded holiday album and television special with Parton in 1984
- participated in “We Are the World”
- acted in the film Six Pack and television movies The Gambler, Coward of the County and Christmas in America
- hosted historical TV series <em>The Real West</em>
- published three books of photos
- formed his own label in 1998
- “Buy Me a Rose” hit number one on the country charts in 2000; at 61 he became the oldest solo artist to ever do so
- Greatest Hits album went Diamond (10 million sales)
- released his first gospel album in 2011
- performed at Bonaroo Music Festival in 2012 and will headline Britain’s Glastonbury Festival and Morocco’s Festival Timitar in 2013
- the only male artist to have Adult Contemporary top 10 hits in the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s
- four-time host of CMA awards
Veteran Era Inductee: BOBBY BARE
Bare learned to play a homemade guitar while supporting himself as a teenage farmhand. At 18 he cracked the West Coast music scene with an inadvertent hit: his demo of a blues talking song “The All American Boy” hit the top of the charts-although it was mistakenly credited as having been performed by a different performer (the one who was supposed to learn the song from listening to Bare’s demo). After a short stint making pop music and an appearance on American Bandstand, Bare switched to country in 1962. Five decades later, he’s still releasing albums.
- His first single for RCA, “Shame on Me,” was one of the first country songs to feature horns. It was a crossover hit on the pop charts, as were his next two releases.
- “Detroit City” won 1962 Grammy for Best Country and Western Recording
- Part of country’s first European commercial tour in 1964, playing cities like Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and Stockholm along with Chet Atkins, Jim Reeves and the Anita Kerr singers
- Toured with the Beach Boys, Bobby Darin and Roy Orbison
- Acted in the Western film A Distant Trumpet and TV pilot No Time for Sergeants
- “The Game of Triangles,” a trio with Liz Anderson and Norma Jean, hit the top 5
recorded album with Liverpool country band The Hillsiders
- Released two duet projects with Skeeter Davis
- Started recording for Mercury in 1970 with three top ten hits: “ How I got to Memphis,” “Come Sundown” and “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends”
- Returned to RCA with the top 15 hit “Ride Me Down Easy”
- His double album of Shel Silverstein songs, <em>Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends, and Lies </em>is considered the genre’s first concept album. It performed well on both country and rock charts and one track, a duet with his five-year-old son called “Daddy What If” was nominated for a Grammy
- Continued collaboration with Silverstein on Bobby Bare and the Family Singin’ in the Kitchen, the live album Down and Dirty and Drinkin’ from the Bottle, Singin’ from the Heart
- Hosted talk show “Bobby Bare and Friends” on The Nashville Network, 1983-1985, nominated for two CableACE Awards
- Formed country supergroup Old Dogs with Waylon Jennings, Jerry Reed and Mel Tillis
- Returned to RCA’s Studio B last year to record album, Darker Than Light
Veteran Era Inductee: COWBOY JACK CLEMENT
Clement is a jack of all trades within the music business: songwriter, producer, talent scout and performer. He worked for Sam Philips at Sun Studios and Chet Atkins at RCA. Earlier this year, he was honored with a tribute concert after word got out that he’d decided not to seek treatment for cancer despite a terminal diagnosis.
At Wednesday’s announcement ceremony, he opted to take a seat and let his daughter make a speech on his behalf.
- Discovered Jerry Lee Lewis and produced his first single, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”
- Worked side by side for years with Johnny Cash (the mariachi trumpets on “Ring of Fire” were Clement’s idea)
- Wrote numerous hit songs for Cash, including “Ballad of a Teenage Queen,” Guess Things Happen That Way,” and “The One on the Right is on the Left”
- Helped Charlie Pride break country’s color line, producing all 18 of Pride’s albums
- Opened Music Row’s first 16-track facility, Jack Clement Recording Studios
- Produced Ray Steven’s “Everything is Beautiful”
- Crystal Gale, Kathy Mattea and Garth Brooks recorded hits at his other studio, Jack’s Tracks
- Founded JMI Records with Allen Reynolds
- His songs have been recorded by Bobby Bare, Ray Charles, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Hank Snow and Johnny Cash
- Production credits include sessions with Louis Armstrong, Vic Damone, Hank Williams Jr., John Prine and polka master Frankie Yankovic
- Produced three tracks on U2’s quintuple platinum album Rattle and Hum
- Documentary of Clement’s life, “Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan” screened at Nashville and Tribeca Film Festivals in 2005
- Member of the inaugural class of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Rockabilly Hall of Fame member
- Featured on Music City Walk of Fame