Naomi Judd's Family Asks That Induction Ceremony Go On

Ray Charles, a pair of innovative musicians also will be honored by Country Music Hall of Fame
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2022 1:40 PM CDT
Naomi Judd's Family Asks That Induction Ceremony Go On
The Judds perform during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta on Jan. 30, 1994.   (AP Photo/Eric Draper, File)

The Judds will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, a day after the death of co-founder Naomi Judd. Her family asked that the hall go ahead with the previously planned ceremony, CNN reports. "We will do so, with heavy hearts," CEO Kyle Young tweeted. An event scheduled to take place before the induction ceremony, "Red Carpet Experience," was canceled. Wynonna Judd, her mother's partner in the most successful female duo in country music ever, planned to attend the induction, per People.

The Judds will enter the Hall of Fame with the late Ray Charles. Two innovative session players also will be inducted, a first: Eddie Bayers, a drummer, and the late Pete Drake, a steel guitarist. They'll become the only full-time drummer and steel guitarist to become members. Seven other instruments are represented, but the hall still includes no bassist, and Billboard points out that musicians have been generally overlooked. "There would be no Music City if it had not been for those musicians," said Drake's wife, Rose. Her husband played on, for example, Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man," and George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

The music of the Judds will endure, the hall said in a statement. Wynonna Judd sang lead, the statement added, as her mother "provided harmony, wit, and a sashaying stage presence that engaged audiences." Barbara Bizon, a fan, said Naomi Judd "inspired so many," per WKRN. Beverly Keel, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University, agreed. "Women across the nation moved to Nashville and pursued careers in country music after hearing the Judds' music because they thought if that's country music, I want to be a part of it," Keel said. (More Naomi Judd stories.)

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