Country fans can get caught up in predicting new members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Who should get in next? We’ll
keep our predictions to ourselves, but we are happy to share the qualifications and a brief list of who is eligible, from
Alan Jackson to Hank
Artists can be inducted in one of five categories. Each year, one inductee in the modern era category
and another in the veterans era category are chosen. In addition, there’s a rotating category for recording and/or touring
musician, songwriter and non-performer, with each one recognized every third year. An
anonymous panel overseen by the Country Music Association selects the inductees.
In the modern era category, a
2013 inductee would have become famous between 1968 and 1993. (The rules read: “Eligible 20 years after first achieving national
prominence. Eligible in this category for 25 years.”) Brooks Dunn,
Alan Jackson, Ronnie Milsap and Ricky
Skaggs are living eligible artists who have also won the CMA entertainer of the year award.
Denver and Charlie Rich are possibilities for posthumous induction
in this category. Both are CMA entertainer of the year winners who approached the genre differently, yet adherence to traditional
country isn’t necessarily part of the qualifications. The Hall of Fame leaves its definition of “outstanding contributions”
to the format open to interpretation.
As for more recent CMA entertainer of the year winners, Tim
McGraw first reached the Top 10 in 1994 with “Indian Outlaw,”
so he has to bide his time. Kenny Chesney and Shania
Twain both scored their first big hits in 1995, thus will be eligible in 2015. The Dixie
Chicks, Brad Paisley, Taylor
Swift and Keith Urban must wait even longer for consideration because
they arrived on the scene later.
Meanwhile, Toby Keith will be eligible
in 2013 because “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” broke his career in 1993. Martina
McBride also arrived that year with a Top 10 hit, “My Baby
Loves Me,” along with Faith Hill and her No. 1 debut smash, “Wild
Looking farther back, Crystal Gayle, the
Judds and Randy Travis are also eligible in the modern era category.
Clint Black, Mickey Gilley
and Tanya Tucker are possibilities, too.
In the veterans era category,
an artist is eligible 45 years after achieving national prominence. For the class of 2013, that means popularity prior to
1968. Kenny Rogers and former CMA entertainer of the year Hank Williams
Jr. could wind up in this spot over the next few years, as could Lynn Anderson,
Bobby Bare and Jerry
Lee Lewis. Posthumous possibilities over the next few years include Johnny
Horton, Gram Parsons (who toured and recorded with the Byrds in 1968)
and Dottie West.
The recording and/or touring musician will be the
next rotating category to be announced in 2013. Famed session guitarist Grady Martin and steel guitar legend Pete Drake are
possibilities. The songwriter category, created in 2009, may welcome the likes of Jerry Chesnut, Dean Dillon, Bob McDill,
Curly Putman or the late Hank Cochran in 2014. Looking ahead, the non-performer
inductee in 2015 could potentially be music publisher Bob Beckham or producers Fred Foster and Tony Brown.
Readers, what are your predictions?