The 2007 Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion ceremony was the perfect mix of laughter and tears. You can’t blame the honorees for shedding the latter—the experience of receiving the highest honor your industry can bestow is overwhelmingly emotional. During their acceptance speeches, all three men were overcome by their feelings.
For inductee Harold Bradley, the moment came when he recalled his late brother Owen. “He was like a second father to me,” said Harold, choking back tears. “Here I am, getting to go into the Hall of Fame with him. And that’s very emotional to me.”
Sonny James has always been openly emotional. He brought notes to keep himself in check, but when he came to the part about his beloved bandmembers, he lost it. “Guys, we’ve got a good sound, but we’re friends first,” he recalled saying to his men. “That’s the way it started.” The tears began to flow before he added, “And today, we’re even closer.”
Even the normally stoic George Strait trembled with emotion. “From the first time I started singing country music, I dreamed of getting in the Hall of Fame,” he said in a shaky voice. Nodding to longtime manager Erv Woolsey, he added, “Thanks, Erv, for introducing me to Jim Foglesong,” the executive who signed Strait to MCA. The singer has now been with the label longer than any of its current employees.
The ceremony, staged in the Ford Theater at the Hall of Fame on Sunday night (5/6), began with Bud Wendell’s welcoming remarks. “Your presence honors all of the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame,” he told the attendees.