Three seminal recordings spanning country music history have been added to the Grammy Hall of Fame: Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris' first Trio album plus Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" and Vernon Dalhart's "Wreck of the Old 97."
"We are proud to announce this year's diverse roster of Grammy Hall Of Fame inductees and to recognize recordings that have shaped our industry and inspires music makers of tomorrow," Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said (as quoted on the Grammy website). "Each recording has had a significant impact on our culture, and it is an honor to add them to our distinguished catalog."
The vocal supergroup of Parton, Ronstadt and Harris' 1987 album added to its members legacies through four Top 10 country singles: "To Know Him is to Love Him," "Telling Me Lies," "Those Memories of You" and "Wildflowers." It's gone on to sell over 4 million copies worldwide and win a Grammy award (Best Country Performance by a Duo and Group With Vocal).
Ronstadt's 1987 album of traditional mariachi music, Canciones de mi Padre, is also among the 29 new inductees.
Several artists had a shot at finding success with "The Gambler," with Bobby Bare and Johnny Cash releasing versions before Rogers. But it took Rogers' storytelling talents (and shortly after, his acting chops) to make this Don Schlitz composition an instant classic.
Dalhart, one of the earliest recording stars to succeed with songs promoted as country, scored a million-seller with this song plucked from the headlines. It tells of an infamous 1903 rail disaster in Virginia involving Southern Railway mail train number 97. In addition, it's the namesake of alt-country band Old 97's.
Several songs woven into popular culture now reside in the Grammy Hall of Fame, such as Billie Holiday's "Solitude," USA for Africa's "We Are the World," Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and The Village People's "Y.M.C.A." Popular albums honored by the Recording Academy include The Cars' self-titled, Patti Smith's Horses, Isaac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble's Texas Flood, Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Pearl Jam's Ten, Peter Gabriel's So, The Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill, A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory, Bruce Springsteen's Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ and John Mayall and Eric Clapton's Blues Breakers album.
This year's class also honors the blues singers, songwriters and pickers on the ground level of all popular music. Country blues icon Elizabeth Cotten's "Freight Train" got the nod, as did Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie's "When the Levee Breaks."
For a full list of songs and albums inducted, visit the Grammy website.
Per its website, the Grammy Hall of Fame was established by the Recording Academy's National Trustees in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old. Inductees are selected annually by a special member committee of eminent and knowledgeable professionals from all branches of the recording arts. The 29 new titles up the total number of Hall of Fame recordings to 1,142.