The Nashville Songwriters Foundation recently inducted four new members into its Songwriters Hall of Fame during a banquet at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville. Those honored were the late Johnny Russell, Dennis Linde, and Don and Phil Everly, all of whom are BMI affiliates. They were selected based on their contribution to one of three eras of country music.
NSAI President Chuck Cannon, John Russell, Jr. (on behalf of Johnny Russell), BMI's Del Bryant, Phil Everly, Dennis Linde, BMI's Frances Preston and NSF's Wayland Holyfield. photo by Kay Williams
Johnny Russell was selected from the pre-1971 category. Russell's songs were recorded by some of country music's top acts, including Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and even the Beatles. A native of Moorehead, Mississippi, Russell moved to Fresno, California with his family when he was eleven. Russell recorded his first song in 1958, "In a Mansion Stands My Love," and moved to Nashville later that year to pursue a career as a performer. Jim Reeves helped establish Russell's reputation as a songwriter when he recorded a cover of "In a Mansion Stands My Love." In 1963 Buck Owens scored a number one hit with Russell's tune "Act Naturally," and the Beatles recorded the song in 1965. Russell's son John accepted the induction on behalf of his father, who was told of his election shortly before his death in July of this year.
Dennis Linde was inducted in the 1971-1981 category. Both NSAI and BMI have given Linde their Songwriter of the Year awards in past years. Linde also penned Elvis' "Burning Love" which earned a BMI Pop Award in 1972. More recently, Linde has written hits such as "Bubba Shot the Jukebox," "Callin' Baton Rouge," "John Deere Green" and "Goodbye Earl."
Don and Phil Everly were inducted in the pre-1981 category. Known for their close two-part harmonies, their originality explored the best of pop, country, and rock 'n' roll music. After releasing their first Cadence Records single, "Bye Bye Love," the brothers released a string of hits including Phil's "When Will I Be Loved," and Felice and Boudleaux Bryant's "Wake Up Little Susie" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream." In 1960, the Everly Brothers left Cadence for the Warner Bros. label, where they did a lot to help advance the fledgling company to the major player it is today. The Everly Brothers proved to be an integral and innovative force in country, pop and especially rock 'n' roll music for over four decades. Phil Everly was present to accept the honor.