Brenda Lee Recalls Her Country Music Hall of Fame Induction
Brenda Lee was at the 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony to honor her good friend, the late Grady Martin, but the event triggered happy memories for Lee, who herself was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997 by fellow member Eddy Arnold.
"I was so nervous about him that I couldn’t think about it," she told The Boot and other reporters prior to the induction ceremony. "I thought, ‘Oh, good Lord, Eddy Arnold is putting this around my neck, and I’m going in there with him and Patsy Cline, all my heroes.
"It was a little bit too much to take. And then he couldn’t get it over my hair, so that took us another couple minutes," Lee continues. "But we finally did it, and got a safety pin. When you have big ol’ bubble hair, you can’t get around it."
Knowing how much her own induction meant, it's no surprise that Lee was influential in getting not only Martin, but also the Oak Ridge Boys and Jim Ed Brown and the Browns, into the prestigious hall in the Class of 2015.
"We’ve been working, trying to get the Oaks in for quite a while, because they deserve to be here, and the Browns of course deserve to be here," Lee says. "I’m so glad that I was with Jim Ed in the hospital before he passed away, and he got to know, and he got his medal. So he knew."
Martin's son, Joshua Martin, also credits Lee for her tenacity in helping track down the guitar player's family members in order to get him the honor.
"She knew some of us were down in Lewisburg, [Tenn.], so she called around," he explains. "She called the sheriff’s department. They said, ‘Well, I think Grady Jr. hangs out in Shoney’s.’ They were like, ‘Yeah, he comes in, usually in the mornings,’ so they were trying to track my brother Bubba down, Grady Jr.
"I’m a BMI writer, and some of the folks over there were having lunch with the CMA folks, and they said, ‘We’re trying to track down somebody in Grady Martin’s family,’" Joshua Martin adds. "Brad Collins over at BMI said, ‘I know Josh. Here’s his number,' and that’s how they found me."
See Photos From the 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony