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Clark, Mandrell, McCoy named to Country Music Hall of Fame

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 – Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell and Charlie McCoy will become the newest members of Country Music Hall of Fame, it was announced Wednesday.

Clark will be inducted in the "Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975" category. Mandrell will be the fifth artist inducted in the "Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present" category, which was created in 2005. McCoy will be inducted in the "Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980" category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the "Non-Performer" and "Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II" categories.

"Barbara, Charlie and Roy are truly deserving of country music's biggest honor and the opportunity to join the legendary artists and musicians who have already been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame," said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Executive Officer. "Barbara and Roy are both among our format's greatest ambassadors due to their numerous hit singles, national television series, versatile musicianship, live concert appearances, acting opportunities, and mainstream recognition. And Charlie's musical talents have enriched every recording on which has performed, making him an irreplaceable part of America's music."

Clark, Mandrell and McCoy will be officially inducted at the hall of fame's Medallion Ceremony, which takes place during an annual springtime reunion of the Hall of Fame membership. Since 2007, the Medallion Ceremony has served as the official rite of induction for new members.

"The music created by the 2009 Hall of Fame inductees collectively reflects the European and African musical forms and traditions that are the bedrock of Country Music," said Kyle Young, Director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. "Roy, Charlie and Barbara - each in their own way - have nodded to tradition to create music relevant to the first generations of the space age and they have helped to extend the footprint of country music and American culture around the world. These are three of the 20th Century's most important artists. We offer our congratulations and we look forward to celebrating these meaningful lives and careers in a few weeks at their official induction."

"It makes you proud to be considered in that league," said Clark. "I never thought about being in the Hall of Fame before because you're busy working in your career. Never thought I would be there. Then when you are selected, it makes you stop and think. I'm now in a pretty exclusive club that includes Jimmy Rodgers, Hank Williams, Roy Acuff and Little Jimmy Dickens, among many others. The proudest part of my induction into the Hall of Fame is that I'm now associated with all of my friends and heroes."

Mandrell said she was "eternally grateful to be joining those honored in the Country Music Hall of Fame who I admire and hold in the highest esteem. I thank God for my blessings every day because I realize how very fortunate I am to have such loving family, friends, and fans who took my career to places that I could never have even imagined. Since age 11, I've been privileged to have lived my life as a Country Music entertainer."

"When I started playing sessions, all I ever wanted to do was perform on these legendary artists' records," said McCoy. "And now, to be included in the same place that they are is beyond my wildest dreams."

CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music's highest honor. All inductees are chosen by CMA's Hall of Fame Panel of Electors, which consists of more than 300 anonymous voters appointed by the CMA Board of Directors. Clark, Mandrell, and McCoy will increase membership in the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame from 105 to 108 inductees.

Charles Ray McCoy was born March 28, 1941, in Oak Hill, West Va., and raised in Miami. He learned to play his signature instrument, the harmonica, beginning at age eight, though later he would also become a master of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and wind and brass instruments. Starting out as a member of several local rock bands during his mid-teens, he later traveled across Florida performing alongside both country and rock musicians. At one such gig in 1959, Mel Tillis convinced McCoy to travel to Nashville to audition for studio work. Unfortunately he didn't find much work as a session musician at that time, so McCoy moved back to Florida to study musical theory, study vocal lessons, and work as an arranger and conductor.

In 1960, McCoy briefly became the drummer for pop singer Johnny Ferguson before returning to Nashville. Tillis later introduced McCoy to music executive Jim Denny, who helped him find work in Music City. His first session was Roy Orbison's Candy Man in 1961 (the gig paid $49). He soon became one of Nashville's most sought-after musicians.

McCoy toured with Stonewall Jackson as his drummer in the early 1960s and released several solo singles. McCoy became a regular performer on Elvis Presley's Nashville and Los Angeles sessions in the mid '60s, while also working with Bob Dylan on such legendary albums as "Highway 61 Revisited," "Blonde on Blonde," "John Wesley Harding" and "Nashville Skyline." Al Kooper, Gordon Lightfoot, Ringo Starr, and John Stewart were among the many artists who hired the versatile musician to perform on their albums. At his peak, McCoy was performing on more than 400 sessions a year.

McCoy was the first musician to use the "Nashville Number System" in the recording studio. This informal method of transcribing music with numbers was developed by Neil Matthews in the late '50s for The Jordanaires to use when writing vocal parts. In the early '60s, McCoy adapted the system for musicians. The process quickly caught on with his colleagues, and became the new standard for music notation in Nashville.

McCoy released his first solo album "The World of Charlie McCoy" in 1968, followed by "The Real McCoy" in 1969, both on Monument Records. Around the same time, he was part of the group Area Code 615, which featured many of Nashville's top session stars including David Briggs, Kenny Buttrey, Mac Gayden, Wayne Moss, Weldon Myrick, Norbert Putnam, Buddy Spicher and Bobby Thompson. The band released two albums: "Area Code 615" in 1969 and "A Trip in the Country" in 1970, both on Polydor Records. After playing its only live show in 1970 at the Fillmore West, Area Code 615 broke up, and the musicians went their separate ways.

In the 1970s, McCoy remained an in-demand Nashville session player, recording with artists including Joan Baez, Wanda Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Leon Russell, Paul Simon, Tanya Tucker, and more, while also recording his own solo projects. In 1971, a Florida DJ played I Started Loving Her Again from his 1969 The Real McCoy album and received a huge response from his listeners. The single was soon released nationally and reached the Top 20 in 1972. McCoy released 11 additional solo albums between 1972 and 1979 on Monument. He received the CMA Instrumentalist of the Year Award in 1972 and 1973, and the Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1972.

McCoy worked as musical director for several television series and specials during the '70s and '80s. His best known work in this capacity included 18 years on the long-running syndicated television series "Hee Haw"; 20 years with what is currently known as "The Colgate Country Showdown"; and 5 years with "The Arthritis Telethon." McCoy also served as Musical Director on "The Charlie Daniels Christmas Special," "Happy New Year from Opryland," "Hee Haw Honeys" and "Nashville Palace."

Between 1986 and 1998, he released four country albums (including three on Step One Records), one gospel album on Simitar Records, and nine albums available exclusively in Europe. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Musicians Hall of Fame. One year later, he became part of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. McCoy continues to record and tour, and just recorded his 35th album, which will be available later this year on Green Hill Records. Throughout his career, McCoy performed harmonica on a multitude of recordings. Among his most well-known are those with the following artists: Alabama ("Tar Top"), Vince Gill ("Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year"), Tom T. Hall ("I Love," "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine"), Waylon Jennings ("Only Daddy That Will Walk The Line"), George Jones ("He Stopped Loving Her Today"), Loretta Lynn ("When The Tingle Becomes A Chill"), Barbara Mandrell ("I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool"), Ronnie Milsap ("I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World"), Marie Osmond ("Paper Roses"), Dolly Parton ("My Tennessee Mountain Home"), Johnny Paycheck ("Take This Job and Shove It"), Simon and Garfunkel ("The Boxer"), Ray Stevens ("The Streak"), and Tanya Tucker ("Delta Dawn," "What's Your Mama's Name"). Other artists that utilized McCoy's harmonica skills on their records include: Bill Anderson, Ann-Margret, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins, Joan Baez, Bobby Bare, Jim Ed Brown, Johnny Cash, Roy Clark, Patsy Cline, Perry Como, Floyd Cramer, Rodney Crowell, Bob Dylan, Flatt & Scruggs, Merle Haggard, Sonny James, Sammy Kershaw, Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gordon Lightfoot, Manhattan Transfer, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Orbison, Osborn Brothers, Patti Page, Carl Perkins, Peter Paul & Mary, Elvis Presley, Charley Pride, Cliff Richard, Johnny Rodriquez, Paul Simon, Nancy Sinatra, Connie Smith, Ringo Starr, Statler Brothers, Steve Miller Band, Pam Tillis, Conway Twitty, Steve Wariner, Doc Watson, Kitty Wells and Tammy Wynette.

Roy Linwood Clark was born in April 15, 1933 in Meherrin, Va. As a teenager, he grew up in southeast Washington, D,C,, where his father worked at the Washington Navy Yard. The son of two amateur musicians, Clark learned to play banjo, guitar and mandolin at an early age and often performed with his father as a teenager. At the same time, he pursued an athletic career, briefly with baseball and later with boxing. By age 17, he had won 15 consecutive boxing matches as well as two national banjo championships, which earned him his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Clark soon gave up boxing and focused on a music career.

After working at several local clubs and radio stations, Clark became a regular on Jimmy Dean's Washington-based television show, "Town and Country Time." After Dean left for New York, Clark took over the show, and his reputation as a great musician and performer grew. Moving to Las Vegas in 1960, he performed with western swing bandleader and comedian Hank Penny at the Golden Nugget. He later led Wanda Jackson's band and played on several of her recordings including her single, Let's Have a Party. After Jackson dismantled her band, Clark regularly performed at the Frontier Hotel in Vegas.

Clark signed with Capitol Records in 1963, achieving a Top 10 Country hit with his first single, Tips of My Fingers. After several minor hits, he moved to Dot Records in 1968, reaching the Top 10 again one year later with Yesterday When I Was Young.

National television played a key role in Clark's career. Dean was the guest-host of "The Tonight Show" several times during the 1960s, and he brought Clark on the show, introducing the young performer to a national audience for the first time. Clark's musical talent and comedic personality struck a chord with viewers, and more television appearances followed on series such as "The Jackie Gleason Show," "Fanfare," and "The Joey Bishop Show." He also appeared in several episodes of the hit "Beverly Hillbillies" television series playing two recurring characters, "Cousin Roy" and his mother, "Myrtle."

In the late '60s, the CBS Television Network developed a Country version of the comedy series "Laugh-In" and picked Clark and Buck Owens to serve as co-hosts. "Hee Haw" debuted in 1969 and became one of the most popular shows on television. After two seasons though, CBS cancelled the show along with a number of other rural-leaning programming in order to "urbanize" the network's image. The producers of "Hee Haw" sensed the strong public demand for the show and immediately put it into first-run syndication. "Hee Haw" remained in production until its final broadcast in 1992, with Clark never missing an episode. During the run of the show, Clark was a member of the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet (along with Grandpa Jones, Owens and Kenny Price) and the Million Dollar Band (along with guitarist Chet Atkins, mandolin player Jethro Burns, pianist Floyd Cramer, trumpet player Danny Davis, fiddler Johnny Gimble, harmonica player Charlie McCoy and saxophonist Boots Randolph).

During the early '70s, Clark achieved a string of Top 10 Country singles including I Never Picked Cotton (1970), Thank God and Greyhound (1970), The Lawrence Welk-Hee Haw Counter-Revolution Polka (1972), Come Live With Me (1973), Somewhere Between Love and Tomorrow (1973), Honeymoon Feelin' (1974), and If I Had It to Do All Over Again (1976). In between his "Hee Haw" duties, he acted on television shows such as "Love, American Style" and "The Odd Couple." He appeared as himself on television shows and specials such as "The Captain and Tennille," "Hollywood Squares," "Johnny Cash Christmas Special," "The Muppet Show," and guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" several times. The busy Clark also toured constantly, both in the U.S. and abroad. In 1976, he became one of the first American recording artists to perform in the Soviet Union, where he sold out 18 shows.

As the '80s began, Clark was the first country artist to open a theater in Branson, Mo., when he launched the Roy Clark Theater in 1983. Diversifying his interests, he invested in minor-league baseball, cattle, publishing and other businesses. He starred in the 1986 movie "Uphill All the Way" with Mel Tillis, and made appearances in the movies "Freeway" (1988) and "Gordy" (1995). Clark fulfilled a lifelong dream by joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1987, while continuing to sellout concerts across the globe.

Clark was recognized by his peers with 7 CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year in 1973. He also won the Comedian of the Year Award in 1970; Instrumental Group of the Year Award (for his work with Buck Trent) in 1975 and 1976; and Instrumentalist of the Year Award in 1977, 1978, and 1980. He received a Grammy Award in 1982 for Best Country Instrumental Performance for Alabama Jubilee.

Barbara Ann Mandrell was born on Dec. 25, 1948 in Houston, the eldest child of Irby and Mary Mandrell. Both parents were musical. Mary, an avid musician and music teacher, taught her daughter how to play the accordion and read music. In fact, she was reading music before she could read English. When Mandrell was almost seven, her parents packed up everything and moved the family to California. By age 10, she was learning steel guitar while also learning alto saxophone in the school band. Six months later, her father took her to Chicago for a music trade convention where her steel guitar talents caught the attention of Joe Maphis, who added her to his Las Vegas show that opened a few days later. At age 11, Mandrell started her professional career.

At home, Mandrell became a regular on the weekly Los Angeles television show "Town Hall Party," and in 1961, made her national television debut on ABC with Red Foley's "Five Star Jubilee." That milestone in her career lead to another: her first concert tour as part of "The Johnny Cash Show," which featured four of country legends: Johnny Cash, June Carter, Patsy Cline and George Jones.

In eighth grade, she joined her parents to form the Mandrell Family Band. The group entertained exclusively for all branches of the military throughout her high school years, including performances overseas in countries such as Vietnam. In 1963 at age 15, Mandrell recorded her first single and scored a minor hit with Queen for a Day.

Mandrell married and when her husband who was in the military received orders to ship out, she went to stay with her family who had moved to Tennessee.

In the summer of 1968, her father took her to the Grand Ole Opry. While enjoying the show, Mandrell whispered to her father, "Daddy, I wasn't cut out to be in the audience. I want to get back into country music. Will you manage me again?" Within 48 hours of a nightclub appearance near the Opry, she received four different recording contract offers. Signing with Billy Sherrill and Columbia Records in 1969, Mandrell charted her first hit with a remake of Otis Redding's I've Been Loving You Too Long. A year later, she gave birth to her first child, Matthew Dudney, and reached number13 on the charts with Playin' Around With Love. Success continued with After Closing Time (1970 duet with David Houston); Tonight My Baby's Coming Home (1971); and Show Me (1972). That same year, at 23, Mandrell fulfilled her dream of becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. One year later she had her first number 1 single with The Midnight Oil (1973).

In 1975, Mandrell moved to ABC/Dot Records (soon to become MCA Records) and began working with producer Tom Collins. The pair achieved success with Standing Room Only, Married But Not to Each Other, That's What Friends Are For and Woman to Woman. One year after signing with ABC/Dot, she gave birth to her daughter, Jaime Dudney.

Mandrell returned to the number 1 spot for 2 weeks in 1978 with Sleeping Single in a Double Bed. She repeated this feat with her follow-up, (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right andYears, both in 1979.

In the the '80s, she continued to achieve success hit singles including Crackers, The Best of Strangers and In Times Like These. Mandrell also returned to number one three more times with "Till You're Gone," One of a Kind Pair of Fools, and the song that would become her signature hit, I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool.

Mandrell received four CMA Awards. She took home the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award in 1979 and 1981 and became the third female artist to be named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1980. One year later, she made history as the first artist to win the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award two years in a row.

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