Kenny Rogers, 'Cowboy' Jack Clement and Bobby Bare Sr. Inducted Into the Country Music Hall of Fame

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At a ceremony this morning at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, legendary country music figures Kenny Rogers, "Cowboy" Jack Clement and Bobby Bare Sr. were named the three latest members of the Hall of Fame. The 74-year-old Rogers was inducted as the latest "Modern Era Artist," while Cowboy Jack (who turned 82 last week) became a member in the "Non-Performer" category, and Bare (78) was named in the "Veterans Era Artist" group.

Fellow Hall of Famer Bill Anderson introduced each of the three inductees, beginning with Clement. Cowboy Jack is a noted songwriter, producer and multi-instrmentalist of course known for writing "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way" among countless others, as well as for producing records by artists including Johnny Cash, Charlie Pride, Louis Armstrong, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and Hank Williams Jr. Clement — who graced our cover back in January in advance of that star-studded tribute concert at War Memorial Auditorium — has had some health issues in recent months, and although he was present, his "little baby daughter" (as he called her) Alison Clement spoke on his behalf. Alison noted how uncharacteristic it is for her noted raconteur of a father to be rendered speechless, going on to call the induction a "proud and joyous moment" for her family.

Next was Veterans Era inductee Bobby Bare Sr., who after Anderson's run-down of his long and storied career asked, "Did I do all that?" Indeed Bare's career is impressive: He recorded dozens of albums for both RCA and Mercury, won a Grammy for his song “Detroit City" (and has been nominated for several statues) and has seen international success as a touring artist. "The first thing we cut sold a million records," said Bare in reference to his time with Chet Atkins at RCA, "which means that I was never, ever in debt to RCA. That's how young artists did it back then. Now when they have their big hit, they owe the record company for years." He went on to talk of his time collaborating with his friend, famed poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein, with whom he "went on a journey that was so much fun that y'all should have taken up with us."

The ceremony concluded with Rogers, who Anderson introduced as having collaborated with Dolly Parton, Dottie West, The Beegees and Lionel Richie, having success as an actor, and having five straight No. 1 country singles between 1978 and 1980. "I had no idea this was coming," said "The Gambler" singer. "I have an older son that said, 'Dad, I thought you were in the Hall of Fame 20 years ago.' I said, 'It's not when you get there, it's that you get there.' ... You don't ask to be in the Hall of Fame, you wait until they ask you." Rogers got choked up toward the end of his speech, expressing his appreciation to the Hall of Fame for inducting him in his lifetime, so that he can "share it with [his] boys." "I think it's important for them to know that I worked hard."

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