Due to a tie in voting, both Dean and Husky will be inducted in the veteran era artists category. An artist becomes eligible in that category 45 years after first achieving national prominence. Sherrill will join in the non-performer category, presented every three years in rotation with the recording and/or touring musician and songwriter categories. Williams will be inducted in the modern era artist category. An artist becomes eligible in that category 20 years after first achieving national prominence. Their inductions will raise membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame from 108 to 112.
In addition to his status as a recording artist, Dean was a television pioneer who brought country music to a national audience. Born Aug. 10, 1928, in Olton, Texas, he was playing piano, harmonica and accordion by the time he was a teenager. Dropping out of high school at age 16, he served in the Merchant Marines and U.S. Air Force. Stationed in Washington, D.C., he began performing at area clubs. Signed to Four Star Records, Dean's debut single, "Bummin' Around," reached No. 5 on Billboard's country chart in 1953. The success led broadcaster Connie B. Gay to offer him the opportunity to host Town and Country Time, a three-hour television show that aired Saturday nights in Washington, D.C. In 1957, he moved to New York, signed with Columbia Records and hosted The Morning Show, an early morning television variety show for CBS. In 1961, Dean wrote and recorded his signature song, "Big Bad John," in Nashville. The song reached No. 1 on Billboard's pop and country charts and earned him a Grammy for best country & western recording. He topped the chart again in 1965 with "The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And the Last Thing Ev'ry Night)" and scored five more Top 10 hits during his tenures on Columbia, RCA Victor and Casino Records. With his success during the early '60s, Dean became the first guest host of The Tonight Show. From 1963-1966 on ABC, The Jimmy Dean Show introduced mainstream America to artists such as
Husky was born Dec. 3, 1925, in Cantwell, Mo., and raised on a farm where he learned to play guitar as a child. After serving in the Merchant Marines, U.S. Army and Coast Guard, he moved to California in 1949. He gained small roles as an actor in several Western movies before becoming a disc jockey in Bakersfield, Calif., and performing in the area. He signed with Four Star Records in 1950 but found little success on the label. He was later signed to Capitol Records by A&R executive Cliffie Stone, a performer, artist manager and Los Angeles TV personality. Working with producer Ken Nelson, Husky released his first Capitol singles under the assumed name of Terry Preston. The singles were not successful, either, and he reverted to using his birth name around the time he moved to Springfield, Mo., where he often performed on the Ozark Jubilee. In 1952, he moved to Nashville and soon found himself recording a recitation for Jean Shepard's single, "A Dear John Letter," which eventually reached No. 1 on Billboard's country chart. As a solo artist, Husky's first chart success came in 1955 with "I Feel Better All Over (More Than Anywhere's Else)," which peaked at No. 4. He also charted singles under the name of his comic alter-ego, Simon Crum, but Husky is best known for his dramatic performance of "Gone" (which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 in 1957) and the inspirational "Wings of a Dove" (which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 in 1960). In all, Husky enjoyed 11 Top 10 hits during his career at Capitol. As a country star, he appeared in several films, including Country Music Holiday, Country Music on Broadway, The Las Vegas Hillbillys and Hillbillys in a Haunted House. In 1960, he became one of the first country artists inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Sherrill was born Nov. 5, 1936, in Phil Campbell, Ala., the son of an evangelist preacher. Playing saxophone and working in his own band, he drew upon rock 'n' roll and R&B influences in his songwriting. He joined Epic Records' Nashville operation in 1964 as an in-house producer, recording artists the label's other producers declined. Inspired by Phil Spector's famous "wall of sound" production technique, with string sections and background harmonies, his extensive credits as both a producer and songwriter include
Williams, born May 27, 1939, in Floydada, Texas, lent his rich baritone to a long string of country hits between 1974 through 1991. He played in a variety of bands as a teenager and charted pop singles in the '60s as a member of the Pozo-Seco Singers. He moved to Nashville when the group disbanded to work as a songwriter for