Keith Whitley to be welcomed into the Country Music Hall of Fame
It took just over 33 years after his passing, but Keith Whitley will be officially a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. On Tuesday morning, Brooks & Dunn presented the 2022 Class, which also included music producer, Joe Galante, and rock and roller, Jerry Lee Lewis.
Joe Galante, one of country music’s most successful record executives, helped steer the careers of Alabama, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, The Judds, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, and many other artists during his four decades in the record business. Jerry Lee Lewis, who began as an explosive rock & roll performer, later became a major country star, with a distinctive and dynamic style as a singer and pianist. Between 1968 and 1981, he had thirty-four Top Twenty country hits. Influential singer Keith Whitley helped define country music’s new traditionalist resurgence of the 1980s. In five years, he recorded a dozen Top Twenty solo country singles, including five consecutive #1 hits. His career was cut tragically short at age thirty-four.
“This year’s inductees are trailblazers who each paved their own unique path within Country Music,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer in a statement. “Jerry Lee, Keith and Joe each found their musical callings early in life and displayed a strong-minded and fierce passion for music-making. In very different ways, they all have left a lasting impact on the industry and generations of fans alike. I am thrilled to welcome this deserving class into the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
Keith Whitley’s widow and fellow musician, Lorrie Morgan, was on hand to accept on behalf of Keith. “In my heart, this feels like an absolutely appropriate honor, but at the same time, I know that Keith would be painfully humbled and even shy about accepting an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” Morgan said. “Music was all about emotion to Keith. It was personal. There were so many great artists he admired, even worshipped. To stand in their company in the Hall of Fame would’ve been overwhelmingly emotional for him. I am thrilled to see him honored this way, and for what it means to my children, Morgan and Jesse Keith; to Keith’s grandchildren; the Whitley family, and to the many, many fans who continue to point to Keith as one of the all-time greats.”
The Country Music Hall of Fame’s newest members-elect will be honored during a private, invitation-only Medallion Ceremony at the Museum in October 2022, with heartfelt testimonials and once-in-a-lifetime musical tributes.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.