May 2, 2022 - News

Naomi Judd's lasting legacy

portrait of Naomi Judd with big hair and a pink dress in front of a sign that says "CMT Music awards"
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for CMT

A day after her death shook Nashville and the music world, Naomi Judd entered into country music immortality.

  • The Judds, the chart-topping, harmony-driven duo Naomi formed with her daughter Wynonna in the early 1980s, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday evening.

The medallion ceremony, a career-capping milestone for The Judds and other musicians honored, took on a somber tone as the community mourned.

Wynonna Judd and her sister Ashley spoke at the event.

  • "My heart's broken and I feel so blessed," Wynonna Judd said. "It's a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed."

The details: Naomi Judd died Saturday at 76. Her family said they lost her to "the disease of mental illness."

  • "We are shattered," Wynonna and Ashley Judd said in a statement. "We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory."

Background: Discovered by producer and songwriter Brent Maher, The Judds won over fans and critics with a raft of heart-tugging songs, some of them co-written by Naomi Judd.

  • Wynonna stood center stage with her unmistakable, rafter-shaking voice. Naomi's intricate harmonies brought their music a unique dimension that electrified country radio.
  • Naomi's ethereal stage presence became her hallmark: she smiled, twisted and twirled, stopping to blow kisses or take pictures with fans while her daughter held down the lead vocals.

Flashback: The formula worked commercially and critically. From 1984 until 1991, The Judds notched 20 songs that reached top-10 status on the country charts.

  • The duo won five Grammys, nine CMA awards and seven ACM awards.

Yes, but: Following a diagnosis of hepatitis C, Naomi was forced to step away from the stage in 1991 while Wynonna started a blockbuster solo career.

  • The duo reunited several times over the years to great fanfare.
  • A new reunion tour was set to begin this fall — the Nashville show at Bridgestone Arena had already sold out.
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