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Induction: Medallion Ceremony

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Joe Galante, one of country music’s most successful record executives, helped steer the careers of Alabama, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, the Judds, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, and many other artists during his four decades in the record business. Jerry Lee Lewis, who began as an explosive rock & roll performer, later became a major country star, with a distinctive and dynamic style as a singer and pianist. Between 1968 and 1981, he had thirty-four Top Twenty country hits. Influential singer Keith Whitley helped define country music’s new traditionalist resurgence of the 1980s. In five years, he recorded a dozen Top Twenty solo country singles, including five consecutive #1 hits. His career was cut tragically short at age thirty-four.

The Country Music Hall of Fame's newest members-elect will be honored during a private, invitation-only Medallion Ceremony at the Museum in October 2022, with heartfelt testimonials and once-in-a-lifetime musical tributes.


2021 Country Music hall of fame members

The Country Music Hall of Fame's newest members — Eddie Bayers, Ray Charles, Pete Drake, and the Judds — were honored Sunday during a Medallion Ceremony at the Museum, with heartfelt testimonials and once-in-a-lifetime musical tributes.

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Eddie Bayers

Recording and/or Touring Musician

Since the late 1980s, Eddie Bayers has been one of Nashville’s most in-demand studio drummers and is the first inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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Ray Charles

Veterans Era Artist

Widely recognized as the “Genius of Soul,” Ray Charles also occupies a powerful place in country music history. He made country songs a significant part of his repertoire from the 1960s onward.

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Pete Drake

Recording and/or Touring Musician

Pedal steel guitarist Pete Drake left a lasting mark not only on country music, but also on rock, gospel, and folk music. He is the first steel guitarist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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The Judds

Modern Era Artist

Naomi and Wynonna Judd helped take country back to its roots with lean, tuneful songs influenced by traditional folk music, acoustic blues, and family harmony acts.

The Country Music Hall of Fame accolade was created by the Country Music Association (CMA), the country music industry's trade organization, to recognize significant contributions to the advancement of country music in both the creative and business communities. Election to the Hall of Fame is solely the prerogative of the CMA.

Through an agreement with the CMA, the role of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is to exhibit the bronze likenesses of the members of the Hall of Fame in a space and fashion befitting the honor. New members, elected annually by a panel of industry executives chosen by the CMA, are inducted formally during the Medallion Ceremony, part of the annual reunion of Country Music Hall of Fame members hosted by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

On that celebrated and private occasion, members of that august body join the members-elect, their families, friends, and business associates to welcome the new class of honorees into their midst. Each new member-elect is inducted by a fellow Hall of Fame member, who presents them with a commemorative medallion to be worn at each subsequent reunion of the membership.


Election Process

The Country Music Association (CMA), the country music industry's trade organization, created the Country Music Hall of Fame honor 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.

Election to the Country Music Hall of Fame is conducted solely by the CMA. New members, elected annually by an anonymous panel of voters chosen by the CMA, are formally inducted in the invitation-only Medallion Ceremony held in the museum's CMA Theater.

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization and does not participate in the election. Through a licensing agreement with the CMA, the museum exhibits the bronze plaques commemorating membership in the museum’s Hall of Fame Rotunda.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many members are in the Hall of Fame?
As of May 2022, there are 146 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. The most recently announced members-elect—Joe Galante, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Keith Whitley—will become the 147th, 148th, and 149th members when they are inducted in the Medallion Ceremony in October 2022. In some cases, a Hall of Fame member is a duo (such as the Judds and Brooks & Dunn) or a group (such as Alabama and the Jordanaires).
How many new members are inducted each year?
The CMA elects three new Hall of Fame members each year, unless there is a tie in the voting for a category. In that case, both of those who tie are admitted together. For example, in 2021, Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake tied in the voting for the Recording and/or Touring Musician category, and both were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

What are the Hall of Fame member categories?
Each year, CMA electors vote on a Modern Era Artist and a Veterans Era Artist. A Modern Era Artist is somebody who is eligible for induction twenty years after they first achieved national prominence. In 2022, Keith Whitley was elected as the year’s Modern Era Artist. The Veterans Era Artist is someone eligible forty years after they first achieved national prominence. In 2022, Jerry Lee Lewis was chosen in the Veterans Era Artist category. In addition, electors also vote every year on one of three rotating categories. Those categories are Recording and/or Touring Musician, Songwriter, or Non-Performer. The rotating category for 2022 was Non-Performer, and music executive Joe Galante was chosen. In 2023, the rotating category will be Songwriter, and in 2024 the rotating category will be Recording and/or Touring Musician.

What is the Medallion Ceremony?
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's annual Medallion Ceremony honors the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame as they are formally inducted. The invitation-only event takes place in the museum’s CMA Theater and is produced by the staff of the museum. Friends, family, colleagues, and fellow Country Music Hall of Fame members honor the new inductees with tributes and songs. A Hall of Fame member inducts the member-elect by presenting the inductee with a commemorative medallion to be worn each time the membership gathers.
Bronze plaques bearing the inductees’ likenesses are unveiled for the first time during the ceremony before hanging permanently in the museum’s Rotunda. Each inductee gives an acceptance speech. The remarks are always heartfelt, sometimes funny, and often emotional as the new members of the Hall of Fame reflect on their journeys to country music’s highest honor. The ceremony ends with everyone singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

For more information about the Circle Guard, Ceremonial Stole, and the Road to the Hall of Fame: Rite of Remembrance and Salute, click the buttons below.

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