Earle's unwritten legacy involves more than classic rock radio fixture "Copperhead Road." He's this year's songwriter/artist inductee. Likewise, Gentry's selection as a veteran songwriter/artist took songs into consideration beyond her game-changer "Ode to Billie Joe" and future Reba McEntire hit "Fancy."
Memphis and Muscle Shoals legend Spooner Oldham, whose credits include James & Bobby Purify's "I'm Your Puppet" and The Box Tops' "Cry Like a Baby," enters the Hall of Fame in the veteran songwriter category. The class of 2020 is rounded out by two giants of modern country songwriting: Kent Blazy (Garth Brooks' "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)") and Brett James (Jesus Take The Wheel" (Carrie Underwood), "When The Sun Goes Down" (Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker) and "Summer Nights" (Rascal Flatts)).
"This year marks our 50th year to welcome a new class into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame," says Sarah Cates, chair of the NaSHOF board of directors. "And although our year has looked different, we couldn't be more excited to continue our commitment and core mission by announcing the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Class of 2020."
The five new members will be officially inducted alongside the 2021 class during the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala on Nov. 1, 2021, at Nashville's Music City Center. The 50th induction ceremony was planned for 2020, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) precautions.
Past inductees with ties to country music include Bill Anderson, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Bob McDill, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Alan Jackson, Waylon Jennings, John Prine, Vince Gill and Guy Clark.