Mar 19, 2024 - News

Toby Keith, John Anderson, James Burton to join the Country Music Hall of Fame

The new batch of Hall of Famers

Country Music Hall of Fame inductees John Anderson, Toby Keith and James Burton. Photos: Erika Goldring/WireImage, Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM, Jordi Vidal/Redferns via Getty Images

The ballot selecting the latest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame closed on Feb. 2. Toby Keith was elected in the modern artist category.

Leaders at the Country Music Association received word of his selection on Feb. 6, hours after news spread about Keith's death.

  • "One of the greatest honors of my job is getting to inform these inductees that they're the newest members," Sarah Trahern, CEO of the CMA, said Monday when the inductees were revealed to the public.
  • "My heart sank that Tuesday afternoon knowing that we'd missed the chance to inform Toby while he was still with us."

State of play: Keith is one of three 2024 inductees. Singer John Anderson was named as the veterans era artist, and guitar virtuoso James Burton was tapped for the recording or touring musician category.

Zoom in: Keith's pugnacious persona and hard-charging chart-toppers — most of which he wrote — made him one of country's leading artists for decades.

  • He died at 62. His son accepted the honor on his behalf Monday.
  • Hall of Fame rules don't allow people to be elected the year they die, but Trahern said that didn't apply in this instance because Keith was picked before his death.

Anderson, 69, started releasing songs in the 1970s and continued carting No. 1 hits into the 1990s. His songs "Straight Tequila Night" and "Seminole Wind" are textbook classic country anthems.

  • "I am still trying to grasp the reality of being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame," Anderson said in a statement. "It is one of the greatest honors I could ever receive."

Burton, 84, is already a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member and is on Rolling Stone's list of the greatest guitarists of all time. He played with Elvis Presley and countless other greats, including Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris and John Denver.

  • "So much of my career was spent playing for incredible country artists, and to now be going up on that wall with all those innovators and industry greats is just incredible," Burton said in a statement.

What's next: The three honorees will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame in October.

  • They join 152 existing members of the Hall of Fame.

Between the lines: The CMA conducts the annual election process for the Hall of Fame. An anonymous panel chosen by the CMA votes on the inductees.

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