"Anyone who comes before you is a god; anyone who comes after you is a punk. This is so backwards." So began Garth Brooks as he inducted Kenny Rogers into the Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday night in Nashville (10/27). Singer, songwriter, producer, label founder Cowboy Jack Clement was inducted posthumously by Charley Pride and remembered for his role in the development of rock and roll or his time with Memphis' Sun Records as an engineer and producer.
Bobby Bare was celebrated as the "songwriter's best friend" for storytelling ability that elevated the songs he chose. "I have been blessed," Bare said. "The gods have smiled on me. I'm just a singer. That's all I am. But ain't I something?"
Rogers was hailed for a career that has spanned six decades and included worldwide renown for his work as an actor, author, photographer and humanitarian.
The musical tribute began with "Lucille" by Darius Rucker, who said, "It's great to be here to sing a song that I want to hear every day of my life." After performances that included The Bee Gees' Barry Gibb, singing "Islands In The Stream," which he co-wrote and produced for Rogers and Dolly Parton, Brooks handled the induction and recalled being his opening act. "If there was an entertainment university, when it comes to Entertainment 101, I can vouch first hand that Kenny Rogers would be the professor of that class," Brooks said. Rogers closed, "The one thing I’ve learned, if nothing else, is that music comes and goes. Songs come and go. Singers come and go. But the Hall of Fame is forever, baby."