8 Classic Country Singers Who Don’t Have A Spot In The Country Music Hall Of Fame

Billboard/Chris Walter via photofeatures.com/CMT

One of the highest honors for any country artist to receive is to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Since it was established in 1961, the Hall of Fame has named some of the biggest players in country music as inductees.

The Hall of Fame’s website states that it honors “significant contributions to the advancement of country music by individuals in both the creative and business communities.” Each year, the CMA chooses an anonymous panel of industry leaders who then elect new members to be inducted.

Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and other classic country legends are represented in the Hall of Fame next to more modern artists such as Vince Gill and Reba McEntire. It comes as no surprise that these artists have a spot in the Hall of Fame, but what does come as a shock is the fact that some of the genre’s icons still don’t have a spot in it.

For example, you’d assume that someone as iconic as June Carter Cash would have a spot in the Hall of Fame. But as you’re about to learn, that’s not the case.

Find out what other eight country legends have been surprisingly excluded from the Country Music Hall of Fame so far.

1. Bobbie Gentry

Although Bobbie Gentry was only active in country music for 17 years before she quit performing for good, she made a profound impact on the genre. She was one of the first female country artists that composed and produced her own material, according to All Music.

In 1967, Gentry released her song “Ode to Billie Joe” which went on to become a worldwide sensation. The mysterious tale Gentry told in the story helped her win two Grammy Awards, one for Best New Artist and another for Best Female Pop Vocal performance in 1968.

Three years after the release of “Billie Joe,” Gentry experienced further success with her song “Fancy.” But you probably know the 1991 version by Reba McEntire best, and although McEntire is an inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame, Gentry is not.

2. David Allan Coe

Believe it or not, outlaw country legend David Allan Coe doesn’t have a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Coe has been active in country music since the 1950s, but didn’t really achieve popularity until the 1970s. He managed to score huge hits with songs such as “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile, “You Never Even Called Me by My Name,” and “She Used to Love Me A Lot.” As a songwriter, Coe also penned number one hit singles for Tanya Tucker and Johnny Paycheck, called “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)” and “Take This Job and Shove It,” respectively.

After being such a staple artist in the country community for so long, we were surprised to learn that Coe isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

3. Tanya Tucker

Speaking of Tucker, she isn’t featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame either.

Tucker was only 13 when she had her first hit in 1972, which we’re sure you know well. The name of the song was “Delta Dawn,” and it is now considered one of the most iconic country songs of all time.

In addition to “Delta Dawn,” Tucker scored hits with songs such as “Strong Enough to Bend” and “What’s Your Mama’s Name?” Beyond her many hits, Tucker’s career is especially notable due to the fact that she is one of few female artists who has successfully been able to fit into the “outlaw” subgenre of country music.

Tucker has broken down a lot of barriers as an artist, but she has yet to break her way into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

4. Jessi Colter

Another female outlaw who doesn’t have a place in the Hall of Fame is Waylon Jennings’ wife and country icon, Jessi Colter. While she was well-known for her collaborations with Jennings, Colter also hit it big as a solo artist. Her debut solo single, “I’m Not Lisa,” not only topped the country charts, but crossed over to become a major pop hit as well.

Along with Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser, Colter collaborated on an album called Wanted! The Outlaws, which was released in 1976 and was a huge success. The album went on to become the first-ever country album to be certified platinum, meaning that it had reached sales of one million copies.

At age 75, Colter remains active in the industry, but she’s yet to receive a spot in the Hall of Fame.

5. John Conlee

Despite charting 32 total singles, country legend John Conlee still hasn’t found a home in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

We’re sure you know many of Conlee’s chart successes, which include number one hits “Common Man,” “As Long As I’m Rockin’ With You,” and “Backside of Thirty.” In addition to his seven number one hits, 14 of Conlee’s songs found their way into the Top Ten spots on the country charts.

Conlee has released a total of 11 albums over the course of his career, with his latest, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, having been released in 2004. After being in the industry for so long, hopefully Conlee soon gets the chance to see his name on a plaque in the Hall of Fame.

6. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been around since 1966, and has seen various members come and go since then. But one thing the group hasn’t seen yet is an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which they surprisingly are not featured in.

We’re sure you know the band’s number one single “Fishin’ in the Dark” by heart, but they also served as the voices behind other hits such as “Modern Day Romance” and a cover of Jeffery Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles.”

The band also experienced great success with their 1972 album, Will the Circle be Unbroken, which included other traditional country artists. That album’s follow-up, called Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two, went on to be certified gold and was named Album of the Year by the CMA.

Maybe soon, the CMA’s hand-picked panel of industry leaders will select the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for induction into the Hall of Fame.

7. The Stanley Brothers

The Stanley Brothers were one of the most successful bluegrass artists in history, made up of brothers Carter and Ralph Stanley. But despite their legendary status, the duo doesn’t have a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The two brothers performed as duo with their band, The Clinch Mountain Boys, which included its own wealth of talented musicians. When it comes to the songs the brothers released over the years, it would be impossible to even begin to list them, because they recorded that many.

But we’re sure you know a tune by the name of “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow,” which the Stanley Brothers popularized. The song has continued to remain famous over the years, due in large part to its inclusion in the 2000 film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The Stanley Brothers have found their way into pop culture forever, but still can’t seem to secure a spot in the Hall of Fame.

8. June Carter Cash


Her husband, Johnny Cash, is an inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame, but June Carter Cash is not. However, her family is represented in the Hall of Fame in their group The Carter Family.

Although Carter sang with her family, she is not one of the inductees listed in the Hall of Fame. Instead, that goes to the Carter Family’s original members, including Cash’s mother Maybelle Carter.

Carter was not only a talented singer who often accompanied her husband on duets, but she was a skilled songwriter and instrumentalist as well, famously writing Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” She received a total of five Grammys over the course of her career, and CMT named her as one of the greatest women in country music in 2002.

In 2009, six years after her death, Carter was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame. Perhaps her next hall of fame honor will be in the Country Music Hall of Fame. She’s surely deserving!

What do you think of our list? Were you shocked to learn that these artists aren’t in the Hall of Fame yet? Let us know your thoughts!