Oct 21 2009

NASHVILLE, October 21, 2009 – The Musicians Hall of Fame celebrated with a room full of industry admirers, peers, and contemporary stars on Monday night, as the crowd gathered in force to salute the 2009 class of virtuosos inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame on Monday, October 12 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.

Legends Chet Atkins, Billy Cox, Dick Dale, Charlie Daniels, Fred Foster, Victor Feldman, Paul Riser, and band TOTO all became members of the prestigious club that already includes Booker T. & The MGs, The Crickets, Duane Eddy, Al Kooper, The Memphis Horns, The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Billy Sherrill, The Nashville A-Team, The Blue Moon Boys, The Funk Brothers, The Memphis Boys, The Tennessee Two, and The Wrecking Crew.

The late, great guitar legend, Chet Atkins, received tribute from contemporary guitar master and country artist, Steve Wariner, who was joined by longtime Atkins sideman and composer, Paul Yandell. The two played an enchanting tribute to some of Atkins better known tunes and compositions. The award was accepted on Atkins behalf by his daughter, Merle Atkins Russell.

“I know my father would be so happy to know that he is in the company of old friends, and so many musicians that he admired so much,” she said. Celebrated King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale, known through the decades for his enthusiastic manipulation of the guitar amplifier, and the namesake behind the “Showman Amp,” created especially for him by guitar and amplifier Guru, Leo Fender, rocked the house into euphoria, bringing them to their feet, with his energetic and volume pumped performance. It was apparent that Dale was having the time of his life, interacting with audience members and taking the audience on a musical ride that had many jumping up and down at their seats. Dale is best know for his rendition of

“Misirlou,” a tune that gained a new generation of fans when it became the hit song behind Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction in 1994).

Longtime Dale friend, Al Jardine original Beach Boys member, performed a rousing, audience accompanied version of “Help Me Rhonda,” a song on which he sang lead, prior to inducting the guitar great into the Hall of Fame and turning over the microphone to him for his emotional acceptance speech. The evening continued to gain intensity as Jimi Hendrix longtime friend and bass player, Billy Cox, took the stage to lay down the beat, paying tribute to Hendrix while showcasing his own musical prowess and expertise. Country star, Charlie Daniels, not only had the crowd in amazement with his stellar guitar playing but continued to take them to the top with his hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, showcasing his fiery fiddle playing and paying tribute to his current band as the best of his entire career.”I’m probably the best taken care of artists in the music industry,” he said, as he also said thank you to his staff, road crew and all others involved in daily operations.

Cox and Daniels together on stage was also a homecoming of sorts being that Cox once played in Daniels band, after he was no longer playing with Hendrix. It was apparent that the two were having the time of their lives. Former Allman Brothers guitarist, Dickey Betts, joined forces with Daniels for Bett’s, “Southbound,” to which the two traded licks and tossed melodies back and forth in a tour de force of guitar playing.

Producer Fred Foster, a man who played an important part in the careers of such luminaries as Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and others, was honored via video message from a thankful Dolly Parton. “”I’m sorry I can’t be there in person,” she said in the message, “but it’s your own (damn) fault: you made me famous!” Kristofferson also paid homage via video to the man with whom he co-wrote one of his biggest hits, “Me and Bobby McGee.” Blues rocker, Tony Joe White, paid tribute to Foster with his self-penned, “Poke Salad Annie,” prior to handing Foster his statue.

Motown legend and 2007 inductee, Bob Babbitt, a member of the famed Funk Brothers, presented the award for Paul Riser and accepted for him in his absence, sharing stories and experiences about Riser and his brilliance as an arranger.

The evening capped off with progressive rockers TOTO (David Paich, Steve Lukather, David Hungate, and Steve Porcaro), taking the stage with good pals Rascal Flatts, to perform a medley of some of their biggest hits, including `”Rosanna,” “I’ll Be Over You,” “Hold the Line,” and “Africa.” Rascal Flatts stated their thrill with being able to induct original band members, with Jay DeMarcus saying, “My entire life, I’ve been a Toto fanatic!” The evenings MC honors rotated between Union Gap’s Gary Puckett and Steve Wariner, with Gary Puckett bringing the crowd to their feet with his performance of “Woman Woman.”