Country music's most prestigious family – The Country Music Hall of Fame – grew by three Sunday night when Patty Loveless, Bob McDill and Tanya Tucker became the 150th, 151st and 152nd members during the star-studded Medallion (induction) Ceremony in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's CMA Theater.
Artists including Bob Seger, Brandi Carlile, Vince Gill, Wynonna, Jamey Johnson, Margo Price and Jessi Colter graced the stage of the theater to surprise the Hall's 2023 class with performances. Loveless was nearly speechless over Seger's appearance and his version of her hit "She Drew a Broken Heart."
"If anyone in this room knows me, they know how emotional I can get," Loveless said after Seger, Gill and Sister Sadie sang for her. "Bob was a real shock to me. I never would have expected that."
Loveless, inducted in the Modern Era Artist category, shared memories of walking around the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum decades ago with her brother and feeling comforted surrounded by her heroes' exhibits. She said being part of that now "truly is an honor."
The daughter of a Kentucky coal miner, Loveless scored 31 Top 20 country hits, including chart-toppers "Timber, I'm Falling in Love," "Blame It on Your Heart" and "Lonely Too Long" between 1988 and 2003.
"I couldn't have done this without many, many people," Loveless said. "I was a shy kid. It's amazing to me that I have been allowed to live the life I have lived and been blessed to know each and every one of you. I feel like I'm stumbling because I am a little emotional."
Brenda Lee and Connie Smith helped induct Tucker into the Country Music Hall of Fame (Veterans Era Artist), which Tucker said "has been a 52-year experience."
Now 65, Tucker was a hit recording artist at age 13. She was on the cover of Rolling Stone at 15 and a millionaire at 16. Her early hits include "Delta Dawn," "Blood Red and Going Down," and she had six No. 1 songs before she turned 18. She tried her hand at pop music before circling back to country to land 24 Top 10 country hits between 1986 and 1997.
Country Music Hall of Fame members Charlie McCoy and Wynonna performed "Delta Dawn" for Tucker. Margo Price and Jessi Colter stepped in with "It's a Little Too Late. And Carlile delivered "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane."
Tucker credited Carlile and Shooter Jennings with "bringing her back from the dead" in 2019.
"I was kicking, but my career was in the hole," Tucker said from the podium. "Thank you for helping me make another statement."
Tucker admitted she's had "a lot of ups and downs" then quipped hers were "mostly in the news but somehow I got through it."
"I look back on these 52 years, and it's hard to make sense of it all," Tucker said. "But it doesn't really make sense because if we lived in a world that made sense and was logical, it would be men who rode side saddle."
Tucker thanked Nashville's songwriters, musicians, engineers, her three children, her parents and her fans.
"Like my friend Roger Miller used to say, 'If you see a turtle on a stump, you know he didn't get there by himself,'" Tucker said. "I didn't get here by myself."
McDill was inducted in the Songwriter category. He's credited with writing songs including "Amanda," "Don't Close Your Eyes," "Gone Country" and "It Must Be Love." Don Williams alone recorded more than 30 McDill songs and made 14 of them hits.
Artists who performed McDill are Charley Crockett ("Louisiana Saturday Night"), Dean Dillon ("All the Good Ones Are Gone") and Johnson with "Good Ole Boys Like Me."
"They say never give an old songwriter a microphone; he's probably been waiting a lifetime to talk about himself," McDill said from the stage. "I think it speaks very well of the panel to go beyond the sparkle of the business and include (songwriters) in the Hall of Fame."