Charlie Daniels Recalls How Hall of Fame Execs Surprised Him With Induction News
On Oct. 16, Charlie Daniels will join Randy Travis and Fred Foster in becoming the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The 79-year-old, already a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the Musicians Hall of Fame, says that becoming part of the prestigious organization is his biggest dream come true.
"The best way I know to explain it to you is, I’ve been trying to write a biography for 20 years, 25 years, something like that. And one of the things that kept me from finishing it is, I could never find -- I don’t want to call it a stopping place, because my career will go on after this -- but I could never find a pausing place; I could never find a place to kind of tie it all together. And this will do it," Daniels recently told The Boot. "The night they hang my medallion around my neck, that’s where my book will end. I finally have a stopping place that I can work toward now, and I can lead up to that."
Although Daniels always hoped that he would earn a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame while he was still alive, he was completely surprised when he first found out about the honor. The country icon recalls that he was told the Country Music Association needed a photo of him and, while on his way to a memorial service at BMI with his wife, begrudgingly stopped by the CMA office to oblige the request.
"I should have known something right then, but I didn’t," Daniels remembers with a laugh, adding that he was complaining about not being able to wear his trademark hat for the photo op. "So we walked in, and they had a cameraman, they had a place that looked like it was set up to do a picture. We’re standing around a few minutes, and when [CMA CEO] Sarah [Trahern] came down, she said, ‘I know you thought you were here to take a picture, but you’re not. You’re actually being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.’
"I literally fell against my wife," Daniels continues. "My first thought was, ‘Did she really say what I thought she said? Am I mistaking what she’s saying? Did she tell me that, or am I just imagining she said that?' And then when it really turned out that it actually happened, and I confirmed it, I don’t really know what my thoughts were. It was kind of surreal, to be honest -- like going to the North Pole and seeing Santa Claus, that kind of feeling."
Of all of his accolades, Daniels says that being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the most notable honor he will ever receive.
"This is one you don’t have any control over," he explains. "If you want to cut hit records, if you keep getting good songs and making good records, you’ve got a good shot at doing that. Even getting on the Grand Ole Opry, people can go talk to Pete Fisher and Steve Buchanan and sing your praises and tell them how good you are and say they think you should be a part of the show, or some of the people on there can go to bat for you.
"But here, you have nobody to talk to, because the voting membership is kept secret, and it rotates," he adds. "You have no control over this. It either happens or it doesn’t happen. A lot of people are dead and gone, so the fact that it happened to me while I was still breathing is pretty special."
In addition to Daniels' upcoming Hall of Fame induction, he is the subject of a special exhibit, Charlie Daniels: Million Mile Reflections, that is now open at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. More information about the exhibit can be found on the museum’s website.
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