The Country Music Hall of Fame has announced a new group of inductees for 2022, with rock & roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis set to be inducted in the Veteran category, and Keith Whitley to join the Hall in the Modern category, and former RCA Records executive Joe Galante will become a member in the Nonperforming category. Brooks & Dunn announced the inductees in the Hall of Fame’s rotunda; the new class of inductees will be formally honored at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony, to be held in the fall.
Said Lewis: “It’s hard for me to find something to say. But I’m here, I love you, I couldn’t have done it without you.” Galante is a Queens native who relocated to Nashville in 1974 to work for RCA in 1982 at the age of 32. Among his signings during his long tenure were Alabama, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, the Judds, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Whitley. After leaving the music business, he devoted himself to mentoring young businesspeople and philanthropy. Said Galante when learning of his induction: “I didn’t know what to say, which was very unusual. This is an unmatched honor and I think it’s a tribute to all those people who helped me get here.”
Keith Whitley, who passed away in 1989 of alcohol poisoning at the age of 34, earned consecutive Number 1 songs with “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “When You Say Nothing at All,” and “I’m No Stranger to the Rain.” Whitley brought bluegrass background into the country mainstream, and his 1985 hit “Miami, My Amy” has had a resurgence of late, as it makes the rounds on TikTok. Whitley’s widow, country singer Lorrie Morgan, called the induction “a dream come true,” adding, “Keith never knew how good he was, He never accepted that he could have a great record deal or that he could have as much as everybody else had. That’s how humble he was.”
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