Ray Charles and The Judds joined the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday in a ceremony filled with tears, music and laughter, just a day after Naomi Judd died unexpectedly.
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The loss of Naomi Judd altered the normally celebratory ceremony, but the music played on, as the genre’s singers and musicians mourned the country legend while also celebrating the four inductees: The Judds, Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake.
Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill and many more performed their hit songs.
Naomi and Wynonna Judd were among the most popular duos of the 1980s, scoring 14 No. 1 hits during their nearly three-decade career. On the eve of her induction, the family said in a statement to The Associated Press that Naomi Judd died at the age of 76 due to “the disease of mental illness”.
Daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd accepted the induction amid tears, holding onto each other and reciting a Bible verse together.
“I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today,” Ashley Judd said of her mother to the crowd while crying. Wynonna Judd talked about the family gathering as they said goodbye to her and she and Ashley Judd recited Psalm 23.
“Though my heart is broken I will continue to sing,” Wynonna Judd said.
Fans gathered outside the museum, drawn to a white floral bouquet outside the entrance and a small framed photo of Naomi Judd below. A single rose was laid on the ground.
Charles’ induction showcased his genre-defying country releases, which demonstrated the genre’s commercial appeal.
The Hall of Fame also inducted two recording musicians who were elemental to so many country songs and singers: Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake.