Country Music Hall of Fame 2021 Inductees Include Ray Charles and The Judds

Reba McEntire had the honor of announcing Ray Charles, The Judds, Eddie Bayers, and Pete Drake have been voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Country Music Association confirmed Ray Charles will be inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category, The Judds in the “Modern Era Artist” category, and both Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake enter in the “Recording and/or Touring Musician” category. (Bayers and Drake tied in the number of votes cast.)

The date of the formal induction ceremony for Bayers, Charles, Drake, and The Judds will be announced soon.

“The works of this year’s inductees span crucial timestamps of Country Music history,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “This impressive career landmark is the pinnacle of accomplishment in Country Music and I’m so proud to see Eddie, Ray, Pete, Naomi and Wynonna getting their much-deserved plaques on the wall of the Rotunda. Today’s fans and generations to come will forever be reminded of the distinct impact each made on this genre.”

The CMA provided the following comments from the 2021 class of Country Music Hall of Fame inductees:

“I’d like to thank everyone who voted to induct Ray Charles into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” stated Valerie Ervin, Ray Charles Foundation President. “Needless to say, Ray Charles loved Country Music. As a matter of fact, he risked a lot in 1962 when he decided to record Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. I cannot express enough how happy and honored Ray Charles would be at this moment in time, as I am for him. Congratulations to all the fellow inductees and as Ray Charles would say, ‘That is so nice.’”

“When we moved to Nashville in the late 70s, still struggling to make ends meet and dressing Wy and Ashley in thrift store dresses, I could’ve never imagined the success we achieved as The Judds,” said Naomi Judd. “I am beyond thrilled and humbled for this incredible recognition. There’s no greater pinnacle in Country Music than the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

“This moment takes me back to 1983 when Mom and I first started,” added Wynonna Judd. “We would get in the car and visit multiple radio stations a day. It kind of feels like I’ve hit the lottery. It is so surreal. John Lennon always said that he just wanted to be remembered, and now we’re truly part of history, or I should say HERstory. What an honor.”

“My heartfelt thanks to those who voted for me,” said Eddie Bayers. “I’ve been blessed to be a recording musician for 58 years, and it continues. I’ve been in the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Band for 18 years, and it continues. I’ve been in the Opry Band for 18 years, and it continues. Now I’m blessed to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which will be everlasting.”

“I am so happy for Pete to receive this well-deserved honor,” stated Pete Drake’s widow, Rose Drake, on behalf of the family. “We are deeply touched and honored for the great recognition of this unique and talented icon that enriched so many illustrious recordings with his special steel guitar tone and sound that distinguished itself, in hundreds of successful recordings.”

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