Harris in Country Music Hall of Fame

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The late, great country music icon Harris is being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame! Here’s everything you need to know about his impressive career and impact on the genre.


The Country Music Hall of Fame is proud to induct one of the most influential and iconic country artists of all time, Emmylou Harris. For more than four decades, Harris has left her indelible mark on the country music landscape with her innovative songwriting and exquisite vocal artistry. Her impact reached well beyond the genre, as she helped lead the way for female artists in country music and beyond.

Harris was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 2, 1947. She began playing guitar at a young age and was soon influenced by the music of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Bob Dylan, and The Byrds. After moving to Nashville in the early 1970s, Harris found success as a member of Gram Parsons’ backing band, The Flying Burrito Brothers. She embarked on a solo career soon after, releasing her debut album “Grievous Angel” in 1974. The album featured Harris’s renditions of two Parsons songs – “Return of the Grievous Angel” and “Hickory Wind” – which would become two of her signature tunes.

Over the course of her career, Harris has released more than 25 albums and received numerous awards and accolades. In addition to being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, she is also a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has won 12 Grammy Awards, including three for Best Country Album, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2008 by President George W. Bush.

Harris’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor for one of the most important artists in country music history. Her legacy will continue to influence generations to come.

Early Life and Career

Harris was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on January 3, 1930. The son of a truck driver and a housewife, he was one of six children. Harris began playing the guitar at age eight and by age thirteen he was performing on local radio and television programs. In 1947, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked as a session musician and arranger for several music publishers. In the early 1950s, he began writing his own songs and recorded his first hit, “Sweet Dreams,” in 1957.

Early life

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Williams was born September 17, 1923, in Mount Olive, Butler County, Alabama. Williams’ father Zenon “Zeke” Williams worked on the Alabama Great Southern Railroad and in a sawmill; he was also a farmer. Hank’s mother Audie was a churchgoer and choir singer. Both of Hank’s parents were musically inclined. Hank’s father sang often while working and traveling. His mother sang at church and taught her children how to harmonize.

Williams’ grandfather Pa Jett was a fiddle player who had given away his instrument when he converted to Christianity. Hank later recalled learning the fiddle at around the age of five: “I can’t say I learned how to play when I was five years old, but I got my first fiddle then. My daddy gave it to me.” The instrument would become one of his most prized possessions, part of an unbroken line that continued with his son Randall Mario (born 1952).

As early as age eight, Williams began forming bands with neighborhood children. At ten years of age, he played fiddle for local dance teams for which his fatherLLaney provided transpoLation for performances. Within a year, he had formed “The Drifting Cowboys”.

First recordings

In 1950, Country Music Hall of Famer Jimmie Rodgers signed Harris to his first recording contract. Rodgers had discovered Harris busking on the streets of Tampa. The two often performed together, and Rodgers helped to launch Harris’ career. In 1951, Harris made her first recordings for RCA Victor. These recordings were successful, and “Welcome Home”, “Sweethearts or Strangers”, and “That’s My Desire” all charted in the Top 10 on Billboard’s country charts.

First chart success

In 1963, Harris made her first appearance on the country chart with “Dear Uncle Sam,” a duet with Bill Anderson. The song peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard country chart and established Harris as a force to be reckoned with in country music. Her follow-up single, “When I Stop Dreaming,” was even more successful, reaching the No. 1 spot on the country chart. Harris’ string of hits continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s, solidifying her place as one of country music’s most popular and beloved stars.

Later Career

After his years with the Temptations, Harris began a solo career. In the 1970s and 1980s, he appeared on several television shows, including The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Charlie’s Angels. Harris also had his own Las Vegas show in the 1980s.

Later recordings

In 1967, Harris made her first recording for Warner Bros. Records, which released two albums, The Way I Feel and Bittersweet White Light. One of the songs from The Way I Feel, “Mike’s Song”, was co-written with country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, with whom Harris had a brief romantic relationship. Also in 1967, Harris appeared on The Holy Modal Rounders’ album The Moray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders. Parsons and Harris also worked together on a song called “Return of the Grievous Angel”, which Harris recorded for her 1974 album Elite Hotel; Parsons died before he could record it himself.

Harris’ Warner Bros. albums did not sell well, and in 1969 she was dropped from the label. She subsequently signed with RCA Victor and began working with producer Brian Ahern. Her first album for RCA Victor was Gliding Bird, released in 1969. It was followed by Light of the Stable (1979), which featured duets with Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson; Evangeline (1981), which won Harris her first Grammy Award; and Last Date (1982), a collaboration with country rock band Emmylou Harris & The Hot Band.

Later chart success

Even though his albums no longer regularly cracked the Top Ten, Harris continued to find success on the country singles chart throughout the 1980s. In 1983, he hit number one with “Monday Morning Coming Down,” a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s song; in 1984, he teamed up with Willie Nelson for the duet “Old Friends,” which went to number two; and in 1985, he topped the chart again with “To Right the Wrong.” Harris continued to tour and release albums throughout the ’80s and ’90s, though his commercial success waned somewhat. Nevertheless, he remained a critical favorite, and his loyal fan base kept him touring regularly.


Bobby Dale Harris, 78, a retired singer and songwriter, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Harris, who retired in 2006, was best known for his work in the genre of country music. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday evening, joining the ranks of other influential artists such as Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton.

During his career, Harris wrote over 200 songs, including hits like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” He also had success as a performer, releasing 20 albums and charting more than 30 singles. In retirement, he focused on his passion for golf and spending time with his family.


Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008, an honor he had long coveted. At the ceremony, Harris was praised for his contributions to the genre, with one music critic noting that “Harris is one of the most significant and influential figures in country music history.”

Influence on country music

The group’s rich harmonies, combined with Harris’s own smooth lead vocals, helped pave the way for a new style of country music in the 1970s, which came to be known as “country-pop” or “soft country.” The group was also one of the first to successfully incorporate elements of rock and pop into their sound, helping to broaden country music’s appeal to a wider audience. Their groundbreaking work helped to make Harris one of the most respected and influential figures in country music.

Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame

Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on October 5, 2008. She became the 10th female artist, and 17th solo artist, to be inducted. Harris was also inducted into the Grand Ole Opry that year.

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