One of the many music attractions of Nashville TN is the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum (MHFM). It’s right alongside the Country Music Hall of Fame, close to Broadway and the majestic Ryman Auditorium. The MHFM opened its new 68,000 sq. ft. location on the first floor of Nashville’s Historic Municipal Auditorium in August 2013. Despite the fact that I’ve travelled from Australia to Nashville three times, I’ve never made it to this attraction, an omission I plan to rectify during my next visit this September (2014).
The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors all musicians from stars to studio players, regardless of genre or instrument. Historic artifacts include instruments played on the original recordings of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hank Williams, Sr., George Harrison, Frank Sinatra, The Supremes, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Chicago and more. See the original stage where a young Jimi Hendrix played. The MHFM timeline starts with the beginning of recorded music and inductees are nominated by current members of the American Federation of Musicians and by other music industry professionals.
Twelve new honorees to the Musicians Hall of Fame were inducted in Nashville on January 28 2014.
Randy Bachman – A legendary figure in the rock and roll world through his talents as a guitarist with The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive, Randy is equally known for being a songwriter, session musician and producer. He has earned over 110 gold and platinum awards around the world for performing and producing. His songs have been recorded by numerous other artists and placed in dozens of television, movie and commercial soundtracks. His melodic guitar riffs have provided a veritable soundtrack of the last forty plus years of popular music.
Jimmy Capps – As one of Country Music’s finest guitar players, Jimmy Capps is a ‘master of smoothness’. He is known in the studio for his ability to move flawlessly from ‘electric to acoustic’ with a polished and refined touch that he brings to every recording or performance he is part of. Some of the classics that Jimmy has played on are “Stand By Your Man,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” and “The Gambler.” Jimmy can also be seen performing on the Opry stage as a staff musician, which he has done since the 1960s.
Peter Frampton – Grammy Award winner Peter Frampton remains one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history. At 16, he was lead singer and guitarist for British band The Herd. At 18, he co-founded one of the first super groups, seminal rock act Humble Pie. His fifth solo album, the electrifying Frampton Comes Alive! remains one of the top-selling live records of all time.
Buddy Guy – Guy is a pioneer of the Chicago blues sound and has served as an influence to some of the most notable musicians of his generation, including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Guy 30th on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Known for his showmanship on stage, he would play his guitar with drumsticks or stroll into the audience while playing solos. His song “Stone Crazy” was ranked 78th in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.
Ben Keith (posthumously) – Known primarily for his work as a pedal steel guitarist with Neil Young, Keith was a fixture of the Nashville country music community in the 1950s and 1960s. He later worked with numerous successful rock, country and pop artists as both a producer and a multi-instrumentalist sideman for over four decades. The very first song Ben recorded as a Nashville session player was Patsy Cline’s timeless standard “I Fall To Pieces.”
Will Lee – Best known for his work as the bass guitarist on the CBS television program Late Show with David Letterman as part of the CBS Orchestra. As a studio musician, Lee has played on more than 1700 albums working with artists as diverse as Carly Simon, Barry Manilow, Mariah Carey, and Dave Matthews. Will is also a founding member of the world famous Beatles tribute band, The Fab Faux.
Barbara Mandrell – First female inductee into the MHOF and first artist to win the CMA Entertainer Of The Year for two consecutive years. She has won multiple awards from the CMA, ACM, American Music Awards, Grammys, People’s Choice Awards and a Dove Award. Her variety show, “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters,” on NBC drew millions of viewers weekly. Along with being a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, her repertoire of instruments include: saxophone, banjo, guitar, dobro, mandolin, and bass, in addition to the accordion and the pedal steel guitar.
Corki Casey O’Dell – In Phoenix, Arizona, in the mid-Fifties, a small group of musicians were making groundbreaking recordings that would help to define the sound of Rock and Roll. Corki Casey O’Dell was the lone woman musician in this group. In 1956, she played rhythm guitar on Sanford Clark’s The Fool, a Top Ten hit record. In 1957 and ‘58, she played rhythm guitar on Duane Eddy’s Moovin’ ‘n Groovin’ and Ramrod. She played on most of Eddy’s recordings in Phoenix, including Peter Gunn, Forty Miles of Bad Road, and his signature tune, Rebel Rouser, which would be featured years later in the film Forrest Gump. Corki’s rhythm guitar playing on so many pioneering hit records earned her the title of The First Rock and Roll Sidechick.
Velma Smith – A self-taught musician, Smith learned to sing and play guitar at an early age. Velma was the first female to perform a solo on the NBC Network portion of the Grand Ole Opry. Velma was also the first female rhythm guitar player to play on records recorded in Nashville. Some of the artists Velma recorded with during her musical career were Eddy Arnold, Hank Locklin, Jim Reeves, Skeeter Davis, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Willie Nelson, Charlie Rich and Don Gibson.
Stevie Ray Vaughan (posthumously) & Double Trouble – With Stevie on guitar, Chris Layton on drums, Tommy Shannon on bass guitar and Reese Wynans on keyboards, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble are credited with igniting the Blues Revival in the ’80s with sold out concerts and gold records. They played together from 1978 until Stevie’s death in a helicopter crash after a concert August 27, 1990. Since then, Chris, Tommy, and Reese have continued playing in other bands as well as session musicians for other artists.
2014 Iconic Riff Award – Roy Orbison (posthumously) “Pretty Woman” – Grammy winner Roy Orbison’s induction as a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are well documented, but not as well known, is that as a guitarist, Roy created one of the most covered and iconic guitar riffs of all time, “Pretty Woman”. Roy is the first recipient of this award.
2014 Industry Icon Award – Mike Curb – Mike Curb is the first Musicians Hall of Fame Industry Icon Award winner. He started out writing music for TV and film before creating his first record label in 1963. Later, he merged his company with MGM and became president of MGM Records and Verve Records. In the ’70s, Curb wrote for and produced Roy Orbison, the Osmond Family, Lou Rawls, and Sammy Davis, Jr. In 1994, the former Lieutenant Governor of California moved to Nashville and formed Curb Records with country recording artists including Wynonna Judd, LeAnn Rimes, Hank Williams, Jr. Rodney Atkins, and Tim McGraw. Along with running Curb Records, Mike is also a civic leader and benefactor for many organizations including higher learning institutions that have helped ensure the entertainment industry will survive in perpetuity.
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“To be recognized by this institution is the greatest honor a musician can have.” -Neil Young