The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation (NaSHOF) announced the 2007 Hall of Fame inductees this morning, September 10, in Music City. BMI country scribe Bob DiPiero, iconic BMI bluegrass duo Flatt & Scruggs and country/Southern rock hybrid and longtime BMI affiliate Hank Williams, Jr. will officially join the elite hall of fame ranks at the 38th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony on October 14 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.
- Bob DiPiero
- Flatt & Scruggs
- Hank Williams, Jr.
“We extend to all of these fine writers and artists our heartiest congratulations,” said Roger Murrah, Chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation. “They have honed their craft to perfection. For a writer who is connected to the Nashville music community, there is no higher honor than induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.”
There are 162 current members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Hank Williams Sr. and Hank Williams Jr. are the only father/son members; the legendary Hank Williams, Sr. was inducted in the charter group of 1970. Flatt & Scruggs are the fourth artist duo to be inducted, joining the Delmore Brothers, the Louvin Brothers and the Everly Brothers.
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony will feature special performances of the inductees’ songs, as well as annual awards presented by NaSHOF’s sister organization, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). In addition to presenting its Songwriter Achievement Awards honoring the year’s best Song, Songwriter and Songwriter/Artists, the Professional Songwriters Division of NSAI will recognize ten songs and their writers in a list affectionately known as “The 10 Songs I Wish I’d Written.”
Youngstown, Ohio, native Bob DiPiero moved to Nashville in 1979 to pursue songwriting and soon signed with Combine Music. His first cut was Reba McEntire’s 1980 hit “I Can See Forever in Your Eyes.” In 1983, his “American Made” by The Oak Ridge Boys became a national ad jingle for Miller Beer. By the mid-’80s his songs were appearing regularly at the top of the charts. In 1995 DiPiero earned a Triple Play award from the CMA for penning three #1 hits in a year, an honor he earned again in 1996. “Wink” (Neal McCoy) was named BMI Country Song of the Year in 1995. “Worlds Apart” (Vince Gill) was given a similar accolade at the 1997 Country Radio Music Awards. DiPiero was named Songwriter of the Year at the 1998 Nashville Music Awards. As a performer, he is noted for the wit and élan of his solo appearances and recordings. He was also a member of the band Billy Hill from 1989-91.
Tennessee native Lester Flatt first hooked up with North Carolina native Earl Scruggs as part of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1945. Three years later, they left Monroe to start their own act. In 1953, Flatt & Scruggs began their WSM radio show for Martha White Flour, then joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1956. Well-known in bluegrass and country circles, Flatt & Scruggs became the first country group to be booked on the folk music circuit. The duo gained worldwide recognition in 1962 when they recorded the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies TV show. Although they did not write the song, it hit #1 within five weeks of the show’s first broadcast. In 1962 they also performed at Carnegie Hall, becoming the first bluegrass act to grace the venerable stage, and performed the now-famous Martha White jingle. In 1967, Earl’s instrumental “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” was used in the film Bonnie & Clyde. That song earned the duo a performance Grammy and went on to achieve Million-Air status from BMI. Throughout their career, Flatt & Scruggs wrote many of their popular songs, including “Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’,” “Crying My Heart Out Over You,” “Flint Hill Special” and “Cabin in the Hills.” Though they disbanded in 1969, they each were inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Honor and, in 1985, became only the second bluegrass act to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Though he began his career in the shadow of his legendary father, Hank Williams, Jr. emerged as a formidable singer-songwriter in his own right with 1960s hits such as “It’s All Over But the Crying” and “Cajun Baby.” With 1979’s “Family Tradition,” he broke with the Nashville mainstream by adopting a rebel image and writing/recording in a style incorporating his blues and Southern rock influences. The results were millions in records sold, 42 top-10 hits and two CMA Entertainer of the Year honors. He holds 20 BMI Awards for his songwriting prowess and is noteworthy in that the vast majority of his songs were written solo. He wrote what is arguably the most-heard country song of modern times, “Are You Ready For Some Football?,” heard nationally as the theme song of ABC’s Monday Night Football telecasts since 1989. The 2003 tribute CD The Songs of Hank Williams, Jr. featured his compositions sung by Montgomery Gentry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Georgia Satellites, .38 Special and others.