Tanya Tucker Makes Impromptu Appearance On Stage During HOF Induction
By Kelly Fisher
October 23, 2023
Tanya Tucker, Patty Loveless and Bob McDill became the latest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame during a formal induction ceremony on Sunday evening (October 22) in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The star-studded induction ceremony was packed with heartfelt stories, witty remarks, powerful tribute performances, surprising moments and more.
Tucker has been blazing her own trails in the music industry since childhood. She became a hit recording artist at age 13, when she debuted her iconic single “Delta Dawn.” She was the first female country artist to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone at age 15, and became a millionaire at age 16. The Texas-born megastar said during the induction ceremony that her father, Beau Tucker, took her to the historic Grand Ole Opry when she was 9 years old, asking her whether she’d rather be performing the show or sitting in the audience watching it. Undoubtedly, Tucker knew her rightful place was the stage — even during her tribute performances during the induction ceremony in the Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater.
Country Music Hall of Fame members Charlie McCoy and Wynonna Judd delivered a perfume rendition of “Delta Dawn” in Tucker’s honor. Tucker beamed with pride from her front-row seat, but she couldn’t resist joining Margo Price and Jessi Colter on stage during their rendition of “It’s a Little Too Late,” and joining Brandi Carlile during “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane.”
Tucker elicited laughs during her speech, which she delivered after her induction and remarks by Connie Smith and Brenda Lee. She acknowledged that she knew how Kentucky-born icon Patty Loveless felt when she took the stage, as though she was “stumbling” over her words in the emotional moment.
Loveless, a coal minter’s daughter like the late legend Loretta Lynn, kickstarted her career with early praises from the Wilburn Brothers, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton and others. Her decades-long career includes No. 1 hits like Timber, I’m Falling in Love,” “Blame It on Your Heart” and “Lonely Too Long,” among many other unforgettable songs. Loveless was honored during the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony by Sister Sadie (performing “The Sounds of Loneliness”), Bob Seger (performing “She Drew a Broken Heart,” which “was a real shock” to Loveless) and Vince Gill (performing “Lonely Too Long”), who also presented Loveless with her medallion.
“I’m trying to hold it together,” an emotional Loveless said when she took the podium. “Going back over all the years, the one person I wish truly could be here with me tonight is my brother, Roger Ramey. He passed away last year, last June, in 2022. This was always a dream of ours, as young kids coming to Nashville. When I would walk through the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, I’d walk around…it just felt so comforting to walk among those, and to be a part of it now, it truly is an honor and I don’t think that I could really have done this without many, many people that supported me.
“I feel like I’m stumbling because I am a little emotional,” she continued. “But I want to say thank you to my husband, [musician and songwriter] Emory Gordy. We’ve made a lot of wonderful music together.”
Loveless’ induction comes a few months after she walked through her exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame for the first time, surrounded by family and friends. The Patty Loveless: No Trouble with the Truth exhibit chronicles her career with wardrobe pieces, memorabilia from tours, photographs, set lists, posters, videos, manuscripts and other artifacts. Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said “we didn’t plan it this way,” that Loveless’ exhibit would open the same year as her induction, “but I choose to believe that this was in the stars all along.”
McDill built his legendary career penning songs for some of country music’s biggest artists, including “Amanda,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “Gone Country” and “It Must Be Love,” among other timeless hits throughout his decades-long career. Don Williams recorded more than 30 of McDill’s songs, in addition to Crystal Gayle, Alan Jackson and Waylon Jennings, to name a few. The Beaumont, Texas-born songwriter worked eight hours a day, five days a week in his Music Row publishing office, determined to write one song each week, the Hall of Fame noted.
Charley Crockett was the first to pay tribute to McDill with a rendition of “Louisiana Saturday Night,” followed by Country Music Hall of Famer Dean Dillon (“All the Good Ones Are Gone”) and Jamey Johnson (“Good Ole Boys Like Me”). Songwriter Don Schlitz delivered a powerful speech, hailing McDill his “hero” and his “big break” in his career, as he presented the newly-inducted Hall of Fame member with his medallion. During his speech, McDill noted that he now joins eight non-performing songwriters in the Country Music Hall of Fame: “Everyone knows their songs, but few people know their names.”
“It means a lot to have all of you here,” McDill said to his family, friends and other guests as he stepped up to the podium to receive his medallion and view his plaque for the first time. “I’m especially flattered to be in the company of these two wonderful ladies, Tanya Tucker and Patty Loveless. They’re very deserving. (They’re) a couple of legends.”
Gill revealed the latest class of legendary artists and songwriters to be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a live-streamed announcement earlier this year. McDill’s Songwriter category is awarded every third year, in rotation with the Recording and/or Touring Musician and Non-Performer categories, per the Country Music Association. Loveless is the Modern Era Artist category inductee, and Tucker will be inducted in the Veteran Era Artist category. Country Music Association Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern said in a statement at that time that the inductees are “truly one-of-a-kind storytellers.”
McDill, Loveless and Tucker became the 150th, 151st and 152nd members of the Country Music Hall of Fame when they were formally inducted during the Medallion Ceremony. Relive some of the most unforgettable moments below.