Country Music Hall of Fame inducts 3 new members - WKRN News 2

Country Music Hall of Fame inducts 3 new members

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

It's the highest honor in country music and Sunday night, three more people were added to the prestigious list of musicians in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Garth Brooks, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, and Connie Smith came together to celebrate and be celebrated at the Ford Theater.

"The first night they introduced me on the Opry stage and said I'd be inducted, I had to try real hard to keep from puckering up and crying," said Smith.

Dolly Parton once famously said "There are only three real singers in the world; Streisand, Ronstadt and Connie Smith, the rest of us are just faking it".

Smith told Nashville's News 2 on the red carpet, "It's a great honor, and I'm so proud for my family and they're so proud. It's just great."

When Smith won a talent show in Ohio, she caught the attention of legendary songwriter Bill Anderson, who invited her to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

Smith's 1964 recording "Once a Day," written by Anderson, became the first debut single be a female vocalist to reach No. 1 on the country charts.

The Quebe Sisters Band performed "Once a Day" as a tribute. The Whites and Lee Ann Womack also paid tribute.

Robbins, blind from the age of four, said he learned to play piano at age seven and never turned back, working with every country artist you can name, including Smith.

It was Robbins' unique country blues sound and his gifted touch with the ivories that made him one of the most sought after musicians in town.

"I was just playing at that time what I felt, and it just worked out that way," Robbins told Nashville's News 2.

As to the Country Music Hall of Fame honor, Robbins said, "It's real exciting. It's probably the greatest honor I've ever received."

Ronnie Dunn paid tribute to Robbins, with a version of Robbins' hit, "White Lightning."

Crystal Gale, Gene Watson and Ronnie Milsap also performed.

Garth Brooks burst onto the country scene in 1989 and has enjoyed one of the most successful careers in popular music history.

No one, in any style of music, sold more albums in the 1990s than Brooks.

"By singing country music with passion, with conviction and with emotion, Garth tapped into the music's potential to move and inspire people the world over," said Steve Moore, CEO of the Country Music Association.

One of Brooks' idols, George Strait, honored him with a performance of "Much Too Young (to Feel This Damn Old)."

James Taylor played "The River" and Bob Seger performed "That Summer" while Brooks wiped away tears during much of the night.

Brooks told the audience of family and friends, this is the proudest moment of his career as a musician.

Earlier, Brooks said, "Any class you go in with is phenomenal. Are you kidding me? With Pig and Ms. Connie, that is what country music is."

The newest inductees will have plaques displayed in the Hall of Fame rotunda, alongside the rest of the members.

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