Ray Charles has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He joins the veteran session drummer Eddie Bayers, pedal steel guitarist Pete Drake, and mother-daughter duo the Judds in the 2021 class. New members of the Country Music Hall of Fame are elected annually by a panel of industry executives chosen by the Country Music Association. Check out the full announcement below.
Charles’ foundational 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music helped connect the dots between the blues, soul, R&B and country music, widening the genre’s audience in the process. He continued to keep country music in his repertoire throughout his career, collaborating with country artists such as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Read about Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music in Pitchfork’s “200 Best Albums of the 1960s” list.