On Tuesday, March 6, the Country Music Association in Nashville, TN announced three new inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame for 2012: country superstar Garth Brooks; legendary country singer Connie Smith; and country pianist Hargus “Pig” Robbins. The three inductees were named in the Modern Era Artist, Veterans Era, and Recording/Touring Musicians categories, respectively. The official induction will occur in a ceremony planned for later this year.
Connie Smith, 70 (awarded in the Veterans Era category), has recorded no less than 53 albums since launching her career in 1964, and while she has not broken any sales records over the years, as a vocalist she has earned a high level of respect and acclaim within the country music community. Dolly Parton is reported to have said, “There’s really only three female singers in the world: Barbara Streisand, Linda Ronstadt and Connie Smith. The rest of us are only pretending.”
Hargus “Pig” Robbins, 74 (Recording and/or Touring Musicians category), is probably the least-known name to the public, but within the country music genre he has a long-standing reputation as one of country’s most in-demand session players for many decades. Blind since the age of four, Robbins developed a playing style based on the stylings of Floyd Cramer and Ray Charles, and was highly influential in the evolution of the “Nashville Sound” of the late ‘50s and ‘60s.
Garth Brooks, 50 (Modern Era Artist category), is the youngest of this year’s inductees, and by far the top seller, with over 128 million record sales to his credit. After releasing his first record in 1989, Brooks rose quickly to superstardom and gained notoriety for his high-energy performances, and was a precursor to the crossover appeal country music now enjoys today. Brooks dropped out of heavy touring in 2000, but still performs on occasion.
Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is considered by many to be country music’s most prestigious honor. Congratulations to all of 2012’s inductees, not only for the award, but also for careers that have proven worthy of the honor.
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