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Welcome Carl Smith, Floyd Cramer to the Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Standard Time Editorial, November 2003

Congratulations to Carl Smith and the late Floyd Cramer on becoming the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Smith, now 76 and a gentleman farmer in Tennessee, had a very very long run on the charts from the get go with his first single "Let's Live a Little" in 1951. Among his biggest hits were ""Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way'," "(When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There," "Hey Joe" and "Loose Talk."

Smith had very solid success for 10 years. While he did not do as well on the charts after the early '60s, he continued having an occasional hit and regularly released new music. He also was active on the radio and television circuit before retiring.

While Smith had his run on the charts, the same could never be said for Cramer. In fact, he only had two singles of note, "Last Date" and "San Antonio Rose." He made the hall because of his role as a musical sideman with a very influential keyboard style still heard in country today.

Along with Chet Atkins, who introduced him to Nashville, Cramer was very instrumental in developing the Nashville Sound, characterized by string and horn sections and background choruses.

He was one of the regular A-team of session players that dotted numerous albums recorded in Nashville.

Cramer, who died in 1997 at 64, was known for his slip style of piano involving slurring one note into another, almost hitting two notes at once. He also regularly released albums covering a wide range of genres including country, pop, jazz and more.

The latest inductions correct what some perceive to be a longstanding delay in the inclusion of Smith into the hall. The powers that be have done much to correct a number of oversights in recent years.

Among those who finally made the hall much later than expected were Porter Wagoner, Webb Pierce, Waylon Jennings and the Louvin Brothers in 2001.

Heck, Elvis didn't make it until 1998. Conway Twitty entered the hall in 1999.

At this point, it's obviously better late than never. Artists of quality who made a difference received their due.

Welcome to the Country Music Hall of Fame Carl Smith and Floyd Cramer.