- 17 Aug 21
Ray Charles was joined by Eddie Bayers, Peter Drake and the Judds in the class of 2021.
Ray Charles has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021.
The iconic pianist was inducted alongside session drummer Eddie Bayers, pedal steel guitarist Peter Drake and mother and daughter duo the Judds. Bayers is the first drummer, and Drake the first pedal-steel guitarist to be included in the Hall of Fame.
The members for the Country Music Hall of Fame are elected annually by a panel of industry executives chosen by the Country Music Association. There are usually three nominated for the hall however they tied in the voting for the recording or touring musician slots this year which led to four being elected.
Charles and Drake passed away in 2004 and 1988, respectively, however Bayers remains active and the Judds were present for the virtual announcement. “Speaking as a daughter, it’s about damn time,” said Wynonna Judd about her and her mother’s induction into the Nashville hall.
Charles was inducted under the Veterans Era Artist slot and comes as a slightly surprising nomination – as most of his career was forged outside the genre. However, his 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was the first country album to make it to number 1 on the Billboard pop album chart, where it spent 14 weeks. Charles also collaborated with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
The formal induction into the Hall of Fame for Charles, Drake, Bayers and the Judds will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the CMA theatre. A date for the event has not yet been announced.