Country Music Hall of Fame Elects Charlie Daniels, Randy Travis, Fred Foster

Announcement Made Tuesday Morning in Nashville

Charlie Daniels, Randy Travis and famed record producer and label executive Fred Foster have been elected the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Country Music Association made the announcement was during a Tuesday morning (March 29) press conference in Nashville. The formal induction will take place later this year.

Daniels will be inducted in the veterans era artist category, while Travis will be inducted in the modern era artist category. Foster will be inducted in the non-performer division, a category awarded every third year in a rotation with the recording and/or touring musician active prior to 1980 and songwriter categories.

Daniels, Foster and Travis, all natives of North Carolina, will increase membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame from 127 to 130 members.

Charlie Daniels
Born Oct. 28, 1936, in Wilmington and influenced by bluegrass, gospel, country, R&B and rock ’n’ roll music, he was proficient at fiddle, mandolin and guitar when he formed his first band, the Jaguars.

Encouraged by record producer Bob Johnston, Daniels moved to Nashville in 1967 and embarked on a career as a studio musician. His credits included projects with Leonard Cohen, Marty Robbins and Al Kooper. He also performed on Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning albums.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

After forming the Charlie Daniels Band, the 1974’s Fire on the Mountain album netted the hit singles “The South’s Gonna Do It” and “Long Haired Country Boy.” The CDB’s 1979 album Million Mile Reflections featured “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” a song that became a cultural phenomenon. It topped the country chart, peaked at No. 3 on the pop chart and was featured in the Urban Cowboy film soundtrack.

Still touring extensively, Daniels’ most recent albums include 2014’s Off the Grid: Doin’ It Dylan and 2015’s Live at Billy Bob’s Texas, a 14-track compilation that brought the talents of the Charlie Daniels Band together with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Gary Stewart, David Allan Coe, Pat Green, the Randy Rogers Band and several others.

Randy Travis
Born Randy Traywick on May 4, 1959, in Marshville, Travis is credited with leading country music’s neo-traditionalist movement during the mid ’80s.

Growing up on a rural farm, he and began performing as a child with his brother Ricky as the Traywick Brothers. After dropping out of high school, Travis won a singing contest at a nightclub operated by Elizabeth “Lib” Hatcher in Charlotte. She took an interest in the teen and gave him a job at the club.

The two moved to Nashville in 1982 and married in 1991. Hatcher took over as manager of the Nashville Palace restaurant and nightclub and hired Travis to sing and cook there. Seeking a record deal, Travis later said he was turned down by every label in town at least once for being “too country.” However, Warner Bros. Records A&R executive Martha Sharp took notice after hearing him perform at the Nashville Palace and set out to champion him as Randy Travis.

Travis’ first single, “On the Other Hand,” barely registered on the charts in 1985, but the next, “1982,” rose to the Top 10. When Warner Bros. rereleased “On the Other Hand,” it quickly became his first No. 1 single, beginning a run of 10 more chart-toppers out of his next 12 hit singles. The subsequent album Storms of Life was the first of six straight platinum certifications for sales in excess of 1 million units.

His other No. 1 singles include “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “I Told You So,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “Better Class of Losers,” “If I didn’t Have You” and “Three Wooden Crosses.”

The 56-year-old singer’s career was put on hold in 2013 when Travis suffered a stroke as a result of a viral infection in his heart. He is currently living on his ranch in Texas with his wife Mary Davis-Travis. He continues physical rehabilitation and has been making special appearances in Nashville and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Fred Foster
Born July 26, 1931, in rural North Carolina, Foster was still a teenager when he left the family farm and moved to Washington, D.C., where his sister lived.

After writing songs while working as a hotel carhop, his first job in the music business was as a record store clerk and promoting and distributing records. He began recording local acts on the side, including early tracks for future Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Dean cut early tracks.

He joined Mercury Records in 1953 and eventually became head of the company’s national country promotion department. But after making his first trip to Nashville to determine why country sales were flat, he clashed with executives over the direction of the label’s sound, which he felt was antiquated in the age of rockabilly.

During a short tenure at ABC/Paramount around 1956, he acquired the master to the label’s first million-seller, “A Rose and a Baby Ruth” by George Hamilton IV. He also signed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Lloyd Price, whose hits for the label included “Stagger Lee” and “Personality.”

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
In 1958, he established Monument Records and the Combine Music publishing company. He used the earnings from the company’s first hit song, Billy Grammer’s “Gotta Travel On,” to move to Nashville in 1960.

In Tennessee, he signed Roy Orbison and began a run of recordings from 1960 to 1964 that included “Only the Lonely,” “In Dreams,” “Running Scared,” “Blue Bayou,” “Blue Angel,” “Dream Baby,” “Crying,” “Candy Man,” “Mean Woman Blues,” “It’s Over,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.”

Also in the mid ’60s, Foster signed Dolly Parton to Monument and produced her first album, Hello, I’m Dolly, which contained the hits “Dumb Blonde” and “Something Fishy.”

During the decade, Foster worked with a number of noted artists, including Grandpa Jones, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Boots Randolph, Ray Stevens, Billy Walker, Tony Joe White and Jeannie Seely.

One of Foster’s most significant contributions was in developing the career of Kris Kristofferson, urging him to record and perform his own songs. Their first album together, 1970’s Kristofferson, featured classics such as “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “For the Good Times” and “Me and Bobby McGee.”

Foster, now 84, sold Monument and Combine in 1990, but has continued to produce music, winning a Grammy for his work with Nelson, Price and Merle Haggard on their Last of the Breed album in 2008.