Well, as the man called Meat Loaf once sang ” Two out of three ain’t bad”. That’s what I initially thought about today’s announcement from the Country Music Hall Of Fame, as they announced the class of 2022, which consisted of Mr. Keith Whitley, Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis and Mr. Joe Galante. Many people might disagree with me on my views, and that’s completely fine, because Mr. Galante isn’t exactly the worst enemy of Country Music like others are, I just felt there were others in the industry that were more deserving of this honor.
I know….I know…the never ending argument we all have a bout “so and so got the shaft again”….I have heard that for 20 years now. But to be honest, I think that it is indeed high time Miss Tanya Tucker was inducted. I truly think that she is overly deserving of this honor as well as a few others.
I do not however, feel that way about the other two that were selected to join the ranks of the greatest honor in all of Country Music. I will openly admit right now, that I felt that Miss Tanya Tucker, Mr. Ray Stevens and The Oak Ridge Boys all deserved to be inducted. But in the end, the three inductees were indeed some damn fine choices overall.
Now, before I talk about the many reasons I justify these choices, allow me to make one disclaimer about the personal lives of the other two choices that were made this week. This entire website is operated by a recovered opiate addict, as many of you already know, and many of you were right along side me for the journey of my recovery. For that reason and a few others, I have decided to focus on their musical legacy in lieu of their personal plights.
Bearing that in mind at this time, I wanted to point out the fact that we all have skeletons in our closets. I’m extremely cautious about being a judgemental person toward anybody, let alone some of my personal heroes, however I can understand someone’s personal dislike for some of these passed Legends that lead such turbulent lives. It was a stable and pellucid fact that these Country Music legends indeed had a litany of issues with marriages, alcohol and drama with drugs ( both of them may or may not have had issues with all three ).
One thing I am going to say about Mr. Keith Whitley is this…I cannot begin to fathom how beautiful the music would have been, had he lived a full life. The same thing I say about Mr. Hank Williams. With only two albums released during his life, he charted hits in both life and death. He charted twelve alive and seven after his death in 1989.
Now, altogether he only released four full length albums, which is a mere drop in the bucket compared to artists like Mr. Garth Brooks or Mr. Alan Jackson, at the same time is often compared to them for paving the way for the artists we love today. He basically erupted from the early 1980’s, and not only became one of the largest country heartthrobs, but became a household name through television appearances on TNN and Hee Haw.
I’m going to be completely honest and say outright without a doubt nobody sang with more feeling and more emotion than this man. I remember as a young boy, I once asked my mother “Mom, who is that guy” she said “That’s Keith Whitley, son”. I asked “Why is he crying, mom?” She replied “Because he is Keith Whitley, son”.
Last but certainly not least, the Country Music Hall Of Fame has inducted one of the most vastly overlooked legends in many genres of music, Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis. While it was altogether essential to remember that he not only embellished Rock Music, but Country as well.
True, a lot of his Country songs were indeed covers, but with his signature flair for the piano and ripping vocals, he revitalized many of the songs he covered. It is my ardent belief that in his time he was responsible for bringing legions of fans from other genres into the Country fold.
To be honest folks, there are just so many boxed sets and compilations that exist of his decades of recordings, that it is almost criminal to not delve into his past Country Music recordings. From a collector’s view his album LIVE At The Star Club, Hamburg is a highly collectable album to have in your collection for anybody, and many of his Country albums are hard to find.
For me, one of his pinnacle album for his contributions to the world of Country Music was his eighth album on Smash Records called “Another Place Another Time” which contained the song penned by Mr. Glenn Sutton called “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous ( Has Made A Loser Out Of Me )”. Also the title song to this album was AMAZING! HOWEVER…
This was only the tip of his mountain of immense material most of society doesn’t delve deep enough to find. I’ll tell you why. See, in 1969 Mr. Sam Phillips who owned Sun Records sold the entire Sun catalog to Mr. Shelby Singleton, which included all of his unreleased recordings of Country songs.
The songs were being released and packaged in such a manner that the general public thought they were new songs. The mastery of the marketing technique they used to move these albums was unprecedented for that time period. I did a lot of studying about the business deal that transpired here, that kept the Sun Records name relevant in this time period.
A plethora of his best Country Music was released on Mercury Records in the 1970’s with an album called I – 40 Country. The song that Mr. Larry Kingston wrote with Mr. Frank Dycus called “He Can’t Fill My Shoes” , which in my opinion was one his finest songs ( also recorded by Mr. Mikey Newberry ).
This was preceded by albums like “Odd Man In”, which boasted another favorite of mine called “Let’s Put It Back Together Again” by my friend Mr. Jerry Foster, and it had some great Hank Williams songs on it. The album called “Killer Country” that was released on Elektra Records, was another perfect Country album, with “Thirty-Nine And Holding ( another song Mr. Jerry Foster wrote with Mr. Bill Rice ).
In conclusion, I have never fully understood why many of these “Outlaw Country” websites and memes never include this man. I mean, there weren’t many that created more chaos for the industry than Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis! That’s not in ANY an insult to one of the people who made the music that helped shape my youth, and truly does indeed deserve to be in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.