10 Country Artists You Won't Believe Aren't in the Hall of Fame - Rolling Stone
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10 Country Artists You Won’t Believe Aren’t in the Hall of Fame

From Randy Travis to Crystal Gayle

Crystal Gayle; Randy Travis; HOF; Hall of Fame; music hall of fame; inductees

Randy Travis and Crystal Gayle are two veteran country music artists who have yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Frederick Breedon IV/WireImage/Getty, Rick Diamond/Getty

Election into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the peak of the country music mountain. Since 1961, when Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and songwriter Fred Rose were the inaugural Hall inductees (even before a permanent home for their bronze plaques had been built), more than 125 members have been enshrined, with artists, songwriters, studio musicians and other key industry figures now represented in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's spectacular rotunda. As the next inductees are set to be revealed tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29th, we look at 10 of the most likely — and worthy — candidates for Hall of Fame membership.

Gram Parsons

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 1973: Singer/songwriter Gram Parsons wears a Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels T-shirt at a party in the park in June 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ginny Winn/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Ginny Winn/Michael Ochs Archive

Gram Parsons

If Gram Parsons had done nothing other than provide an early showcase for the vocal talents of Emmylou Harris, his place in country-music history would be secure. While his support of Harris's gift was a key factor in her early career, Parsons was, in spite of how Nashville's old guard may have perceived him at the time, a dedicated disciple of Merle Haggard, George Jones and Buck Owens. His famous tenure with folk-rock pioneers the Byrds was brief, but his contributions, especially where country music was concerned, were pivotal. Although his life and career were short and deeply troubled, Parsons is now regarded as godfather to country's burgeoning Americana movement.      

Dottie West

UNSPECIFIED - circa 1970 Photo of Dottie WEST (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

David Redfern/Redferns

Dottie West

Although she is often seen as a tragic figure in country music (earning that reputation having survived sexual abuse in childhood and financial ruin in the Eighties, only to perish in a 1991 car crash on her way to the Grand Ole Opry), the fact remains that West was a trailblazing singer-songwriter and performer. In 1965, she was the first woman in country music to win a Grammy, and in 1973, she turned a Coca-Cola jingle ("Country Sunshine," which she co-wrote) into a hit single. Sure, other women have had more (and bigger) hits with longer-lasting, more illustrious careers, but few have packed them with as tough an emotional punch as West.

Tony Brown

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 22: Reba McEntire and Tony Brown attends the 2011 Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony induction at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on May 22, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ed Rode/Getty Images)

Ed Rode/GettyImages

Tony Brown

A seasoned pianist who toured with J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and the Oak Ridge Boys, among others, Brown went on to play with Elvis Presley's TCB Band before joining Emmylou Harris's Hot Band. His knack for spotting talent and finding and recording hits made him one of Music Row's most respected producers and label chiefs. An architect of what Steve Earle would dub country's "Great Credibility Scare" of the mid-Eighties, he signed and produced such left-of-center artists as Earle, Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith while at MCA Records. He's also been responsible for most of the hits cut by Hall of Famers Reba McEntire and George Strait.

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