Three BMI Legends Inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame
Legendary BMI songwriters Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty and Johnny Bond were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the 33rd Annual Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday, September 22 at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
The Hall of Fame is devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to country music. Founded in 1961 by the CMA, the Hall of Fame currently has 62 members, including BMI President and CEO Frances W. Preston, who was inducted in 1992.
Dolly Patron is revered for her musical genius, business savvy, ambition and humanitarian efforts. She began her performing career at age 11, recording her first single, "Puppy Love." In 1964, she went to Nashville and became the newest singer on the "Porter Wagoner Show." She signed a deal with Monument Records but soon moved to RCA, Wagoner's label, where they recorded numerous duets. In 1974, Parton left Wagoner's organization and quickly became an international superstar, consistently topping the charts with hits like the self-penned "Jolene," "Here You Come Again," and "9 to 5," the theme song to the hit movie in which she made her first film appearance. The song earned an Oscar nomination in 1981.
Perhaps the most well-known song Parton has written and recorded is "I Will Always Love You," which reached number one on the country charts three times as well as the pop charts in 1993 via Whitney Houston. The song was also named Song of the Year at the BMI Pop Awards, adding to the long list of over 35 Pop and Country Awards she has earned throughout her extraordinarily prolific songwriting career.
During his 35-year relationship with BMI, Conway Twitty (born Harold Lloyd Jenkins in 1933) has received 14 BMI Country Awards and saw three of his songs reach Million-Air status.
At the age of 12, Twitty put together his first band, The Phillips County Ramblers. He scored his first number one as a pop/rockabilly artist on MGM Records with "It's Only Make Believe." Eight years and three gold records later he made the switch to country music and became one of the most consistent and successful artists in that genre both as a soloist and as partner to Loretta Lynn. The duo won a Grammy and four CMA Awards for their recordings of such songs as "After the Fire Is Gone" and "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man." Twitty died suddenly on his way to Nashville's Fan Fair in 1993.
Johnny Bond (1915-1978) was well known as a songwriter, singer, actor, businessman and author during his career. He is probably best remembered for "Your Old Love Letters," which won a BMI Country Music Award in 1961, and his western classic "Cimmaron." He and his original trio The Bell Boys appeared in the Roy Rogers' film Saga of Death Valley and were later the house band on Melody Ranch, Gene Autry's popular radio show. As a solo artist, Bond recorded for several labels during the '40s and '50s, and in 1965 his career was revived with the novelty song "10 Little Bottles," earning him another BMI Country Award.
In addition to his work as a musician, he continued to appear in movies and served for more than 10 years as host and writer of the television show Town Hall Party. In his later years he penned his autobiography as well as a biography of his friend Tex Ritter.