KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The 2022 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame have been revealed.
Hall of Fame members and Country duo Brooks & Dunn hosted the press conference on Tuesday announcing the inductees, Joe Galante, Jerry Lee Lewis and Keith Whitley. The conference was live-streamed on CMA’s YouTube channel.
“This year’s inductees are trailblazers who each paved their own unique path within Country Music,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Jerry Lee, Keith and Joe each found their musical callings early in life and displayed a strong-minded and fierce passion for music-making. In very different ways, they all have left a lasting impact on the industry and generations of fans alike. I am thrilled to welcome this deserving class into the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
Joe Galante was the youngest person to ever lead a major label’s Nashville division, as he was only 32 when he become the head of RCA Nashville. He signed a number of artists including Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Vince Gill, The Judds, Martina McBride, Lorrie Morgan, K.T. Oslin, Carrie Underwood, Keith Whitley, and more. He will be inducted into the “Non-Performer” category, which is awarded every third year.
“When I heard the news I was being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, it was the first time in my entire career I was speechless,” says Galante. “I’m humbled, beyond honored and honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this.”
Music historian Colin Escott described Jerry Lee Lewis as “a rock ‘n’ roller who could never quite get the Country out of his soul, and a Country singer who could never forget rock ‘n’ roll.” He will be inducted into the “Veterans Era Artist” category.
“To be recognized by Country Music with their highest honor is a humbling experience,” says Lewis. “The little boy from Ferriday, LA listening to Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams never thought he’d be in a Hall amongst them. I am appreciative of all those who have recognized that Jerry Lee Lewis music is Country Music and to our almighty God for his never-ending redeeming grace.”
The final inductee, Keith Whitley, will be inducted into the “Modern Era Artist” category. Though less than five years passed in between his first appearance on the Billboard Country singles chart and his death in 1989, the Country Music Association said he made a lasting impact on the genre.
“In my heart, this feels like an absolutely appropriate honor, but at the same time, I know that Keith would be painfully humbled, and even shy about accepting an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” says Grand Ole Opry star, Lorrie Morgan, who was married to Whitley until his untimely passing. “Music was all about emotion to Keith. It was personal. There were so many great artists he admired, even worshipped. To stand in their company in the Hall of Fame would’ve been overwhelmingly emotional for him.”
Galante, Lewis and Whitley will be formally inducted at a ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the CMA Theater this fall.