Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum Induction Ceremony
As any loyal music-loving Nashvillian knows, when legends the likes of Neil Young, Duane Eddy, Brenda Lee and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons appear at a public event, you go. Tonight those notables, along with The Oak Ridge Boys, blues-guitar wunderkind Kenny Wayne Shepherd and others, will honor this year’s inductees to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum — which include Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Double Trouble, Barbara Mandrell, Buddy Guy, Peter Frampton, Mike Curb and late Neil Young steel guitarist Ben Keith — at a ceremony at Municipal Auditorium, which now doubles as the hall’s new home. That last distinction makes tonight’s event even more special, as it follows a three-year absence. In 2010, eminent domain and eventual construction of the Music City Center claimed the Musicians Hall and Museum’s original Sixth Avenue location — its home since opening in 2006. Bigger and better, the hall reopened in the newly renovated first floor of Municipal Auditorium in August.
Toronto Ontario Canada | Rock
Neil Young is one of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers. In a career that extends back to his mid-Sixties roots as a coffeehouse folkie in his native Canada, this principled and unpredictable maverick has pursued an often winding course across the rock and roll landscape. He’s been a cult hero, a chart-topping rock star, and all things in-between, remaining true to his restless muse all the while. At various times, Young has delved into folk, country, garage-rock and grunge. His biggest album, Harvest (1972) , apotheosized the laid-back singer/songwriter genre he helped invent. By contrast, Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Young’s second-best seller, was a loud, brawling masterpiece whose title track, an homage to Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, contained the oft-quoted line “Better to burn out than it is to rust.”
Several of his more modest-selling titles - for example, Tonight’s the Night, Comes a Time and Trans - contain some of his most trenchant performances. It is typical of Young that he followed his most polished and popular album, Harvest, with one of his most raw and uncommercial, Time Fades Away. While he’s avoided sticking to one style for very long, the unifying factors throughout Young’s peripatetic musical journey have been his unmistakable voice, his raw and expressive guitar playing, and his consummate songwriting skill.
In the early 1960s the Canadian-born Young performed as a self-accompanied folksinger on the Toronto scene. As a budding rock and roller, he hooked up with such groups as the Squires and the Mynah Birds; the latter was briefly signed to Motown and also included budding funk-rocker Rick James. Buffalo Springfield came together in 1966, inaugurating a collaboration between Young and Stephen Stills that has been intermittently revived down the decades. As a member of Buffalo Springfield, Young contributed lead guitar and a raft of bittersweet folk-rock originals that included “Mr. Soul,” “Broken Arrow” and “Expecting to Fly.”
Young’s solo career took flight in 1969 with Neil Young, an album of pretty, brooding songs that included “The Loner.” This singer/songwriter debut was one of the first solo albums by a rock and roll figure, and it quietly presaged a major direction that music would take in the Seventies. In the more than 30 years since that album’s appearance, Young has recorded and toured tirelessly, releasing 35 albums. In addition to his prolific solo output, Young has undertaken occasional liaisons with Crosby, Stills and Nash (1970’s Déjà vu, 1988’s American Dream, 1999’s Looking Forward) and with Stephen Stills (1976’s Long May You Run, credited to the Stills-Young Band).
More lasting has been Young’s association with Crazy Horse, his steadiest backup band since 1969. Crazy Horse first turned up on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Young’s second album, which contained the lengthy, jam-filled “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” and one of Young’s most memorable songs, “Cinnamon Girl.” The group provided a solid, rocking base for Young’s songs and solos, and they’ve played with him on albums ranging from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush (1970) to Ragged Glory (1990) and Broken Arrow (1996). The mellower, more acoustic and folk-flavored side of Neil Young has surfaced on numerous albums, notably Harvest (1972) and its sequel, Harvest Moon (1992). He has also made detours into country music (1985’s Old Ways) and big-band blues (1988’s This Note’s for You). The one entity that Neil Young has come back to again and again, however, is Crazy Horse.
The original Crazy Horse included guitarist Danny Whitten, bass player Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina. Whitten died of a heroin overdose in 1972, and his loss inspired much of the material on Young’s tempestuous and biographical Tonight’s the Night. Its release was delayed until 1975 out of fear it was too raw for the market Young had courted so successfully with Harvest (1972) and its #1 hit, “Heart of Gold.” Frank Sampedro joined Crazy Horse on guitar in 1975, making his debut on Young’s Zuma album. Young has termed his association with Crazy Horse “the essence of my musical life. This is the core, the smoldering thing I come back to over and over again....If I had never done anything else, the Crazy Horse stuff would just stand on its own.”
Over the years, Young has made his mark as an incorrigible artist with a distinctive, unvarnished style on electric guitar. His long, feedback-filled solos owe a debt to Jimi Hendrix, in spirit if not strictly in style. Young attributes his uncompromising approach to his early taste of success. The mass popularity he attained with “Heart of Gold,” a #1 hit in 1972, caused him to balk. “This song put me in the middle of the road,” he wrote in the liner notes to his retrospective Decade anthology. “Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride, but I saw more interesting people there.”
Nonetheless, one of his most successful albums, Rust Never Sleeps, was also one of his most uncompromising. Released in 1979, Rust Never Sleeps became an instant favorite of fans and critics. Mixing acoustic and electric numbers, it was largely inspired by the punk-rock insurgency – especially its anthemic title track, “Rust Never Sleeps (Hey Hey, My My [Into the Black]). Rust Never Sleeps was followed by a concert video and double live album, Live Rust. At this point, Young was at a peak of popularity rivaling that of the early Seventies, when he was on top with After the Gold Rush and Harvest. Displaying no interest in repeating a formula, however, he followed Rust with the quiet, acoustic Hawks & Doves (1980) and the squalling, electric Re-ac-tor (1981).
Young’s ride became particularly bumpy during the Eighties, following his move from Reprise to Geffen Records. He veered somewhat recklessly from style to style, moving from computerized music made with sequencers and samplers (Trans) to backward-looking neo-rockabilly for the Reagan era (Everybody’s Rockin’) to a return to roots on the countrified Old Ways. In 1985, Young performed at the Live Aid fundraising extravaganza and then became one of the organizers and participants in Farm Aid, a yearly concert and consciousness-raising event. Young and his wife, Pegi, also founded San Francisco’s Bridge School, a learning center for handicapped children with communication disabilities.
After his checkered tenure at Geffen Records, during which Young was actually sued by the label for allegedly releasing non-commercial records, Young returned to the Reprise label. Like a man unshackled, Neil Young released the buoyant, bluesy and horn-stoked This Note’s for You, which found him backed by the ten-man Bluenotes. The title track mocked corporate sponsorship and MTV. Ironically, though it had been banned by the music channel upon its release in 1988, “This Note’s for You” won MTV’s Best Video award a year later.
Young’s career became more clearly focused, though no less given to willful shifts in style, mood and volume, with the release of Freedom 1989. Considered a return to form and his most vital work since Rust Never Sleeps, it included acoustic and electric versions of “Rockin’ in the Free World.” From there, Young entered the Nineties full of fire and drive. He kicked off the decade with Ragged Glory, which reunited him with Crazy Horse, and collaborated with alternative-rock heroes Pearl Jam on 1995’s Mirror Ball. He also nodded to his most popular album, 1972’s Harvest, by releasing a sequel, Harvest Moon, in 1992. Songs like “From Hank to Hendrix” and the title track assessed a generation’s coming of age and paid tribute to the enduring verities of friends, family and unconditional love. In the Nineties, Young’s studio releases were often followed by tours, live albums and video documentaries, revealing his relish for the energy and spontaneity of the stage.
Throughout his self-described “bumpy ride,” Young has consistently demonstrated the unbridled passion of an artist who understands that self-renewal is the only way to avoid burning out. For this reason, he has remained one of the most significant artists of the rock and roll era."-Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Museum
TX | Rock
William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons is an American musician, producer and actor, best known as the guitarist of the American rock band ZZ Top. He began his career in the Moving Sidewalks, who recorded Flash (1968) and opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and released ZZ Top's First Album in 1971. The albums that followed, Rio Grande Mud (1972) and Tres Hombres (1973), along with extensive touring, solidified the group's reputation as a hard-rocking power trio. In the 1980s, ZZ Top released their three biggest-selling albums: Eliminator (1983), Afterburner (1985) and Recycler (1990). A wave of music videos for the hit singles "Legs", "Gimme All Your Lovin'", and "Sharp Dressed Man", among others, became mainstays on MTV.
Despite ZZ Top's loss of their early fans with radio-friendly sound and blunders such as the remixed compilation Six Pack (1987), the band's unique blend of boogie and humorous, sometimes raunchy, lyrics, supported by Gibbons' blues-based prowess, continues to attract fans. In recent years, Gibbons has made appearances with other artists and acted on television shows, most notably Bones. He was ranked at number 32 on the 2011 Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. ZZ Top's album La Futura was released in September 2012.
Nashville TN | Rock
Duane Eddy’s importance is immeasurable. He has been credited as one of the originator’s of rock ’n’ roll’s dirtier guitar sound, helping to keep the genre alive when it became safe and commodified, and cited as an influence by such luminaries and peers as Hank Marvin, Jimmy Page, Steve Cropper, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Ry Cooder, Art of Noise (with whom he had a Top 10 hit of a remaking of his classic 1960 hit ’Peter Gunn’), Dave Davies of The Kinks, and many, many more.
Oak Ridge Boys
Hendersonville TN | Country
Theirs is one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of the Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of Country hits and a Number One Pop smash, earned them Grammy, Dove, CMA, and ACM awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades. Every time they step before an audience, the Oaks bring three decades of charted singles, and 50 years of tradition, to bear on a stage show widely acknowledged as among the most exciting anywhere. And each remains as enthusiastic about the process as they have ever been.
"When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with the Oak Ridge Boys," says lead singer Duane Allen. "This is the only job I've ever wanted to have."
"Like everyone else in the group," adds bass singer extraordinaire Richard Sterban, "I was a fan of the Oaks before I became a member. I'm still a fan of the group today. Being in the Oak Ridge Boys is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream."
The two, along with tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden, comprise one of Country's truly legendary acts. Their string of hits includes the pop chart-topper Elvira, as well as Bobbie Sue, Dream On, Thank God For Kids, American Made, I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes, Fancy Free, Gonna Take A Lot Of River and many others. They've scored 12 gold, three platinum, and one double platinum album, plus one double platinum single, and had more than a dozen national Number One singles and over 30 Top Ten hits.
The Oaks represent a tradition that extends back to World War II. The original group, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, began performing Country and Gospel music in nearby Oak Ridge where the atomic bomb was being developed. They called themselves the Oak Ridge Quartet, and they began regular Grand Ole Opry appearances in the fall of ’45. In the mid-fifties, they were featured in Time magazine as one of the top drawing Gospel groups in the nation.
By the late ’60s, with more than 30 members having come and gone, they had a lineup that included Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Noel Fox, and Willie Wynn. Among the Oaks’ many acquaintances in the Gospel field were Bonsall, a streetwise Philadelphia kid who embraced Gospel music; and Sterban, who was singing in quartets and holding down a job as a men’s clothing salesman. Both admired the distinctive, highly popular Oaks.
“They were the most innovative quartet in Gospel music,” says Bonsall. “They performed Gospel with a Rock approach, had a full band, wore bell-bottom pants and grew their hair long... things unheard of at the time.”
The four became friends, and when the Oaks needed a bass and tenor in ’72 and ’73, respectively, Sterban and Bonsall got the calls. For a while, the group remained at the pinnacle of the Gospel music circuit. It was there they refined the strengths that would soon make them an across-the-board attraction.
“We did a lot of package shows,” says Bonsall. “There was an incredible amount of competition. You had to blow people away to sell records and get invited back.”
Their Gospel sound had a distinct Pop edge to it and, although it made for excitement and crowd appeal, it also ruffled purist feathers and left promoters unsure about the Oaks’ direction. Then in 1975, the Oaks were asked to open a number of dates for Roy Clark. Clark’s manager, Jim Halsey, was impressed by their abilities.
“He came backstage and told us we were three-and-a-half minutes (meaning one hit record) away from being a major act,” says Bonsall. “He said we had one of the most dynamic stage shows he’d ever seen but that we had to start singing Country songs.”
They took his advice and the result was a breakthrough.
“Those who came to Country music with or after the New Traditionalists of the mid-eighties cannot possibly imagine the impact the Oaks had in 1977, when they lit up the sky from horizon to horizon with Y’All Come Back Saloon,” wrote Billboard’s Ed Morris. He added “... the vocal intensity the group brought to it instantly enriched and enlivened the perilously staid Country format. These guys were exciting.” Within a year, Paul Simon tapped them to sing backup for his hit Slip Slidin’ Away, and they went on to record with George Jones, Brenda Lee, Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bill Monroe, Ray Charles and others. In 2007, they recorded with the son of an old friend. Shooter Jennings, the son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, invited the Oaks to perform Slow Train, a song on his sophomore CD.
Their career has spanned not only decades, but also formats. They have appeared before five presidents. They produced one of the first Country music videos (Easy, in 1977, although not released in the U.S., it reached the 3 slot in Australia). They participated in the first American popular music headline tour in the USSR. And they have become one of the most enduringly successful touring groups anywhere. They still performing some 150 dates each year at major theaters, fairs and festivals across the U.S. and Canada.
They did it with a consistently upbeat musical approach and terrific business savvy.
“We always look for songs that have lasting value and that are uplifting,” says Allen, who has co-produced the Oaks’ last seven studio albums. “You don’t hear us singing ’cheating’ or ’drinking’ songs, but ’loving’ songs, because we think that will last. We also don’t put music in categories, except for ’good’ or ’bad.’ When we get through with it, it’s probably going to sound like an Oak Ridge Boys song no matter what it is.”
They proved their business acumen in any number of ways, including such steps as declining the chance to sit on the couch during their many appearances on the Tonight Show.
“We said, ’If you’re going to give us four minutes on the couch with Johnny, we’d rather have four minutes to give you another song that lets people know what got us here,’” says Allen. “We didn’t get here talking; we got here singing.”
They also proved themselves to be capable and tireless advocates of charitable and civic causes, serving as spokesmen and/or board members of fundraisers for the Boy Scouts of America, the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse (now known as Prevent Child Abuse America), Feed The Children, the National Anthem Project and many more.
The group’s first personnel change in many years occurred in 1987 when Steve Sanders, who had been playing guitar in the Oaks Band, replaced William Lee as the baritone singer. Late in ’95, Steve resigned from the Oaks and exactly one minute after midnight on New Year’s Eve, Duane, Joe and Richard surprised a packed house at the Holiday Star Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana, by welcoming William Lee on stage and back into the group. The hit makers were finally together again!
The Oaks’ high-energy stage show remains the heart and soul of what they do, and they refine it several times a year, striving to keep it fresh well into the future.
“We’re not willing to rest on our laurels,” Golden says. “That gets boring. As a group, we do things constantly to challenge ourselves, to try to do something different or better than the last time we did it.”
“I feel like I can do what I do on stage just as good now as I could 20 years ago,” says Bonsall. “I plan to be rockin’ my tail off out there as long as I’m healthy. The people who come out, who bring their families to see us, deserve everything I’ve got.”
“We’ve experienced a lot of longevity,” adds Sterban. “I think the reason is the love we have for what we do—the desire, the longing to actually get up there and do it. We love to sing together... to harmonize together. It’s what our lives are all about.”
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Los Angeles CA | Rock
Utter the phrase "young blues guitarist" within earshot of anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the modern musical vanguard and the first name they are most likely to respond with will be Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Still barely in his 30s, the Louisiana born axeman and songsmith has been selling millions of albums, throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and forging ahead with his own modern twist on a classic sound he has embodied since his teens. He met Stevie Ray Vaughan at 7, shared the stage with New Orleans legend Bryan Lee at13. As an adult, he continues to create genre-defining blues-infused rock n' roll.
Atlanta GA | Rock
Brenda's multi-year nominations to the "Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame promise to culminate in an induction ceremony in the early millennium.
Upcoming accolades also include the publication of Brenda's autobiography by Disney owned publishing giant, Hyperion. The book project will be a collaboration of Brenda with noted music journalist, Robert K. Oermann, and Brenda's daughter, Julie Shacklett Clay, herself a published author of the book "Stars That Shine," published by Simon & Schuster. Brenda's autobiography is slated for publication in 2001.
1n 1997, Brenda debut efforts as a songwriter, produced a smash collaboration with Michael McDonald on "The Kiwi Of Fool Love Makes," recorded by Wynonna on her Curb-Universal platinum project, "The Other Side.â?Â The song has since been recorded by Kenny Rogers, on his "She Rides Wild I Horses" collection, on Dreamcatcher Records.
In September 1997, in ceremonies in Nashville telecast on CBS-TV, to an audience of millions of viewers, Brenda was elected to the prestigious Country Music "Hall Of Fame," by the membership of the Country Music Association She became the youngest musical representative of her generation of "Boomers" to receive this coveted industry honor.
By 1996, Brenda Lee was credited with more double sided hit singles than any other woman in the history of pop music. In that same year of 1996, it was noted that Brenda Lee had charted in more categories (pop, rock, easy listening, country, and R&B) than any other female artist in the music industry to date. In October 1994, Brenda Lee headlined a sell-out concert at the historic "Royal Albert Hall" in London - a performance that marked the crowning jewel of a month long European concert series.
On a whimsical note, a miniature rose was named for Brenda Lee by The American Rose Society in 1990. The 'Brenda Lee Rose' is yellow with pink to red edges, depending on the amount of sun it receives. In the words of the Rose Society. . . "The little beauty is exceptionally hearty, smaller than other miniature roses, and an all-round winner!â?Â Obviously, a perfect tribute to its' namesake.
In October of 1990, Brenda made history by becoming the first major entertainer to complete a three year run of a live Broadway style production engagement at the Acuff Theater in Nashville, starring in the musical "Music, Music, Music," and it's follow tip production of 'Spirit Of America." Headlining a cast of some twenty-five singers and dancers, Brenda headlined more than seven hundred consecutive performances, without ever missing an opening curtain.
October 3, 1987 was officially proclaimed "Brenda Lee Day" in her home town of Lithonia, Georgia. As a highlight to the ceremonies, the main street, which runs through the city park, was named "Brenda Lee Uric" in honor of Brenda and her accomplishments..
On September 6, 1984, Brenda was presented with the prestigious "Governor's Award," by the National Academy Of Recording Art-, & Sciences (NARAS). The occasion marking the fourth time the award was bestowed by NARAS, for lifetime career contributions to the recording industry, was heralded by a glittering award celebration, appropriately titled, "A Tribute To A Legend.â?Â It was proclaimed "Brenda Lee Day, ' by the Governor Of Tennessee
Brenda Lee was inducted into the "Georgia Music Hall Of Fame in September 23, 1982, and was presented the "Georgy Award," by her home state in recognition of a lifetime of accomplishments by the state's native daughter.
In "Newsweek" magazine's 1977 compilation Of "Top 20 Artists Of the Past 20 Years," Brenda's accomplishments placed her in the #7 position. "Newsweek" also credited her as one of the five leading American artists that had best survived the British Invasion of the early '60's.
Brenda performed a 'Royal Command Performance' before Queen Elizabeth 11 of England on November 2, 1964 in London.
Brenda Lee ranked, #9 in "Most Consecutive Top Ten Hits Of All Time, " a category shared by both male and female artists.
In retrospect of the entire decade of the '60's, Brenda was the top charted female artist, and fourth overall charted act, with Elvis, The Beatles, and Ray Charles completing the top four.
Brenda Lee is truly "AN INTERNATIONAL STAR.â?Â In 1959 at the age of 15 she embarked on her first foreign tour, which netted her fifty-one front-page stories, nine feature stories and the title of "The Best Goodwill Ambassador tile United States ever had. â?? To date Brenda has Performed in 52 foreign countries and recorded hits in five different languages ... Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese.
Nashville TN | Country
Canada | Singer-Songwriter
Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early Sixties, after the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured North America’s colleges, reservations and concert halls, meeting both huge acclaim and huge misperception from audiences and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes, and instead were both entertained and educated with their initial dose of Native American reality in the first person.
By age 24, Buffy Sainte-Marie had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards, which continue to this day. Her song Until It’s Time for You to Go was recorded by Elvis and Barbra and Cher, and her Universal Soldier became the anthem of the peace movement. For her very first album she was voted Billboard’s Best New Artist.
She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. Unknown to her, as part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationery as among those whose music “deserved to be suppressed”, and radio airplay disappeared. Invited onto television talk shows on the basis of her success with Until It’s Time for You to Go, she was told that Native issues and the peace movement had become unfashionable and to limit her comments to celebrity chat. The next presidential administration, that of Richard Nixon, also came down hard on her, as this was the time of Wounded Knee.
In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew. Denied an adult television audience in the U.S., in 1975 she joined the cast of Sesame Street for five years. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, AIM (American Indian Movement) events and other activist benefits in Canada and the U.S. She made 18 albums of her music, three of her own television specials, scored movies, garnered international acclaim, helped to found Canada’s Music of Aboriginal Canada JUNO category, raised a son, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music as adjunct professor at several colleges, and won an Academy Award Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for the song Up Where We Belong.
2009 marks the release of her eighteenth album Running for the Drum, which just won Buffy her third Juno Award. Packaged in tandem with the bio-documentary DVD Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life, the two disks together give audiences a glimpse into the life and work of this unique, always current artist.