2012 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Announced
NASHVILLE - The Country Music Association announced today that Garth Brooks, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, and Connie Smith will become the newest members of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame.
"There are great artists and talents, and then there are Connie, 'Pig,' and Garth," said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "Connie has been one of the most celebrated female voices in music for more than 45 years, setting a golden standard for the thousands of female vocalists who came after her. 'Pig' overcame adversity to become one of the most sought-after session musicians in the industry, contributing his considerable talents to classic songs that have been treasured by fans all over the world since the late '50s. And, Garth led modern Country Music to unbelievable heights of commercial success and pop culture relevance after bursting onto the scene as part of the now-legendary 'Class of 1989.' These three artists are more than just performers...they are forces of nature who are deservedly entering the Country Music Hall of Fame."
Watch the press conference featuring the 2012 Inductee Announcement
In November 1964, the talk of Nashville's annual Country Music Disc Jockey Convention was young Connie Smith, whose debut hit, "Once a Day," was among the hottest items on the DJs' playlists. A year before, Smith had been a small-town housewife in Ohio; now she was a breakout RCA artist with a country voice as powerful as any the seasoned jocks had ever heard. Indeed, she has been cited as a favorite singer by dozens of country stars. Dolly Parton once said, "You know, there's really only three real female singers in the world: Streisand, Ronstadt, and Connie Smith. The rest of us are only pretending."
Hargus "Pig" Robbins
Among the most sought-after session musicians in country music history, Hargus "Pig" Robbins has played piano on hundreds of hit records since he first began working in Nashville studios in the late 1950s. His credits include such landmark #1 recordings as George Jones's "White Lightning," Roger Miller's "Chug-A-Lug," Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors," and Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue." Robbins's playing on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde album is only one example of his work with artists across the stylistic spectrum.
Garth Brooks emerged in the 1990s to become one of the biggest-selling music acts of all time. He greatly heightened country music's media profile and helped move the genre into the mainstream of American entertainment. In 2007, the RIAA named the Oklahoman the best-selling solo artist in American music history, citing sales of 123 million albums to that point. In 2009, emerging from retirement, Brooks announced he would perform fifteen concerts annually for five years at the 1,500-seat encore theater in Las Vegas. The first twenty concerts sold out at $125 a ticket in five hours.
Election to the Country Music Hall of Fame is country music's highest honor. The Country Music Association (CMA), the country music industry's trade organization, created the accolade to recognize significant contributions to the advancement of country music by individuals in both the creative and business communities. The first members-Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams-were inducted in 1961.