October 30, 2007 Vince Gill, Mel Tillis and Ralph Emery received country music's highest honor Sunday night when they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Tennessean reports.
Each inductee heard lengthy tributes in word and song, beginning with an account of how Ralph spread country music's reach through his all-night radio show on WSM, his local and national television shows and his four books. Raul Malo, the Gaither Vocal Band, Con Hunley and Ray Stevens all performed songs in his honor, while Hall of Fame director Kyle Young and Bud Wendell spoke on his behalf.
During Vince's segment, Emmylou Harris joined Rodney Crowell to sing "Some Things Never Get Old" from Vince's recent four-disc boxed set, followed by performances from Michael McDonald, Guy Clark and Al Anderson. Kyle and Bill Anderson spoke of Vince's career highlights, musical gifts and of the charitable endeavors that earned him the nickname "Benefit."
Mel's tribute documented his rise from shy young man to star of song and screen. Before the event, Bobby Bare said that Mel's skills as a showman sometimes caused people to turn their attentions away from his formidable talents as a singer and songwriter, and he took the stage to prove his point with a version of the Mel's song "Detroit City." He was followed by Kenny Rogers singing "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," daughter Pam Tillis singing "Coca-Cola Cowboy" and Dierks Bentley doing "I Ain't Never."
At 50, Vince is among the youngest Hall inductees. He said his first reaction to the news that he would enter the Hall was, "Well, so-and-so should be in there before me." Later he said, "I feel like I've been reborn. I'm driven, from this point forward, to make sure that I deserve this."