The late music icon Ray Charles will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with the Grammy-winning duo The Judds.
The news was announced Monday by the Hall of Fame, which noted that the new members will be inducted at a special ceremony in 2020, Fox News reported.
"Needless to say, Ray Charles loved country music," said Valerie Ervin, president of the Ray Charles Foundation, in a statement.
"As a matter of fact, he risked a lot in 1962 when he decided to record ‘Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.’ I cannot express enough how happy and honored Ray Charles would be at this moment in time, as I am for him. Congratulations to all the fellow inductees and as Ray Charles would say, ‘That is so nice.’"
Charles paved the way for country music's commercial success during the Civil Rights era with the release of his 1962 album "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music," which was considered a risk at the time. He went on to record a duet album that featured Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, with who he had a No. 1 duet called "Seven Spanish Angels" in 1985. Charles died in 2004 at age 73 from complications of liver disease, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Naomi Judd and her daughter, Wynonna, were also considered instrumental in defining country music in the 1980s. The duo released six studio albums as well as an EP between 1984 and 1991. They won nine CMA Awards and five Grammy Awards together. Naomi announced her retirement from performing in 1990, citing chronic hepatitis. Wynonna continued a solo career.
Upon learning of the induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Wynonna stated it was "about damn time!" However, her impatience was not about herself, but about her mother.
"I'll be honest," she told People. "I've talked to three people, and immediately the first thing they said was, 'It's about damn time,' and as a daughter, I went, 'Yes, it is.' My mother, to me, is the queen of my parade — and it's time to celebrate her."
Wynonna explained that she found out about the news during a show at a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.
"I know that the brain takes time to focus and process," she said. "It's like when they say, 'And the winner is,' you kind of go blank. I went on stage and sang the Judds trilogy of three songs, and I just kinda stood there, like I'm in a movie. It's a very surreal thing."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.