Townes Van Zandt, Bob Morrison, Aaron Barker, Beth Nielsen Chapman Named to Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

Respective Hits Include “Pancho and Lefty,” “Lookin’ for Love,” “Love Without End, Amen,” “This Kiss”

Four composers who have contributed prodigiously to the Great American Country Songbook will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on Oct. 9 in ceremonies at Nashville’s Music City Center.

They are the late Townes Van Zandt (“Pancho and Lefty”), Bob Morrison (“Lookin’ for Love”), Aaron Barker (“Love Without End, Amen”) and Beth Nielsen Chapman (“This Kiss”). They will join the 199 members already in the Hall of Fame

Names of the new inductees were announced Tuesday morning (Aug. 9) at historic Columbia Studio A on Music Row by Pat Alger, a Hall of Fame member himself and chairman of the organization’s board of directors.

The colorful and much-storied Van Zandt, who died in 1997, will join the Hall in the songwriter-artist category. Among his other standards are “If I Needed You,” “For the Sake of the Song,” “White Freight Liner Blues” and “To Live Is to Fly.” Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s recording of the epic “Pancho and Lefty” has become Van Zandt’s signature hit.

Morrison, cited in the veteran songwriter category, rose to prominence in 1979 via Kenny Rogers’ Grammy-winning “You Decorated My Life” and continued with such hits as Johnny Lee’s “Lookin’ for Love.” Gary Morris’ “The Love She Found in Me,” Conway Twitty’s “Don’t Call Him a Cowboy” and Highway 101’s “Whiskey, If You Were a Woman.”

Barker and Chapman are being inducted in the general songwriter division.

Barker’s resume includes George Strait’s “Love Without End, Amen,” “Baby Blue” and “I Can Still Make Cheyenne,” Lonestar’s “What About Now” and Clay Walker’s “Watch This” and “You’re Beginning to Get to Me.”

A formidable recording artist in her own right, primarily in the adult contemporary genre, Chapman has scored big in country as the writer of Faith Hill’s “This Kiss,” Tanya Tucker’s “Strong Enough to Bend,” Willie Nelson’s “Nothing I Can Do About It Now,” Lorrie Morgan’s “Five Minutes” and Martina McBride’s “Happy Girl.”

As a part of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the Nashville Songwriters Association, International will also present awards for the past year’s best song, best songwriter and best songwriter-artist, as well as recognize the Top 10 “Songs I Wish I Had Written” as voted by NSAI’s professional songwriters division.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.