Alan Jackson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Popularity at the annual Medallion Wedding ceremony on Sunday. The honoree requested that country icon Loretta Lynn be the main one to place the Country Music Hall of Fame medallion around his throat. Lynn experienced a stroke in May and has only made one open public appearance since then.
When she walked onto the stage with a little help from fellow Country Music Hall of Popularity member George Strait and her little girl, Patsy, the audience erupted into applause.
Lynn spoke slowly and gradually, but her thoughts were clear as she explained why she made the effort to visit from her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, to Nashville for Jackson’s induction.
“This is actually the first time I’ve been out of our home. You’re the only thing which could have helped bring me here,” she said. “I really like you, honey, and I want to say, ‘Congratulations.’ I am so pleased with you.”
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Lynn also distributed the story of her first dialogue with Jackson after reading him perform a few songs.
She recalled, “The first time I ever achieved Alan and seen Alan, he looked like a terrified little young man. He was practicing backstage going right through his songs. I recall, I looked at him and I said, ‘You’re gonna be one of the biggest singers in country music.’ He hasn’t i want to down.”
Strait sang Jackson’s 2003 track “Remember When” for the honoree. Lee Ann Womack provided Alan’s 1990 debut strike, “Within real life,” and Alison Krauss performed another strike from Alan’s early years, 1991’s “Someday.”
Lynn became a member of Alan, George and fellow Country Music Hall of Popularity member Connie Smith to summarize the ceremony with a singalong of the official anthem of the Hall of Fame, “Will the Group Be Unbroken.”
Before the event, Rare Country caught up with Jackson and his partner, Denise, to see what he was thinking going into the wedding. Alan told us he’d put in most of your day just watching basketball and enjoying his partner and three daughters incomparable the ceremony.
Jackson’s daughters have encouraged many of his biggest visits, most notably 2002’s “Drive (For Daddy Gene).” We asked him what they considered their father getting country music’s highest honor.
“They are all so very pleased,” Jackson said. “They all say how proud they are simply. They’ve always been this way about my music and been such a big part from it, influencing tracks and everything. I’m so happy these were in a position to be here tonight to be always a part of this.”
Jackson said it’s a little overwhelming to realize the plaque along with his name onto it will now hang in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s rotunda next to the plaques of other giants of country music.
He said, “A whole lot of ’em are heroes I’ve patterned myself after, or tried to. Completely from Hank Williams to, more recently, Don Williams that passed away. Everyone from George (Jones) and Merle (Haggard). Just so many people that contain been an integral part of all this background. Especially when you look at just how many are people here and just how many that are not — I feel so blessed and special to be incorporated with this business and ladies.”
Others inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame include later country legend and actor Jerry Reed and songwriter Don Schlitz, best known for writing Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” and Randy Travis’s “Forever and Ever, Amen” among scores of other major country visits.