The People Speak Out
The Country Music Association created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, to recognize both creatives and key music business players, and in the 50-plus years since, the CMA has voted in country greats yearly. As of 2009, the Hall of Fame inducts artists in three categories: One Modern Era (eligible for induction 20 years after reaching national prominence) and one Veterans Era (eligible for induction 45 years after first achieving national prominence) artist are selected each year, while the categories of Non-Performer, Songwriter and Recording and / or Touring Musician rotate. While plenty of country music greats have earned their places in the Hall of Fame, there are still some superstars, pioneers and legends who, surprisingly, are eligible but haven’t made it yet . . .
'Redd Stewart, a pioneer, trailblazer and legend in his own time. Setting the stage for so much music to follow. It is impossible to gauge the impact of one man on all music, but Redd's definitive sound and musical styling has set him high on the influential list with the likes of Presley and the Beatles. Defining songs and artists of any generation are just that, generational and don't come along often. An inclusion in the Country Music Hall of Fame is not only an honor, but in the case of Redd Stewart, a necessity to insure the icons and true talent in music are shown off to the world they changed.' Below are what others had to say about Redd Stewart being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
'I think the Country music songwriters of the '40s and '50s, like Redd Stewart, lit a fuse that helped Country music explode in the following decades. Those songs were fabulous and were a powerful influence in the development of Country music.
'Tennessee Waltz' became a 'mega-hit' when Patti Page recorded it. You couldn't turn on the radio or go to a dance on Saturday night without hearing this son. It's impossible to measure the long-term positive effect of Redd's songs on Country music, but it was major and Redd belongs in the Country Music Hall of Fame.'
(Jim Flynn/Lewiston, ME)
'It set me a back to realize Redd Stewart is not already in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Can't think of anyone else who would deserve it more. Over 37 years in the business, but I never had the pleasure of meeting Redd. You would think the entire state of Tennessee would be asking for his induction into the Hall of Fame . . . just for his beautiful 'Tennessee Waltz' alone.'
(The Mountain Man/Sank Lake, MI)
'Shame on the people who decide who goes in the Hall of Fame. How can anyone overlook Redd Stewart and his lasting contribution to the world of music? No one has not been touched by Redd's music. From the start Redd has been a crossover leader. 'Bonaparte's Retreat,' 'Slow Poke,' 'Soldiers Last Letter,' and 'Tennessee Waltz' all reached different segments of people, at the same time bringing people that had never listened to Country, to realize we had music everyone could enjoy.'
(Leon Smith/Bristow, OK)
'The CMA needs to honor those who paved the way for today's successes. Much is made about increasing the audience, but the early history of the music shows that it was popular far and wide due to those pioneers who got the new thing called 'radio' off the ground. Perhaps they've slipped out of mind - but all one has to do is play their music to know they'll be remembered. And more than a few such as Redd Stewart, Jerry Byrd, Elton Britt, John Lair, Doc Williams, among others are worthy of the Hall of Fame honors. These are the people that helped create the bond between Country music and its' fans, and helped put Nashville on the map.'
(Dave Sichak/San Jose, CA)
'Redd Stewart definitely deserves the honor of being in the Country Music Hall of Fame. His music is known worldwide. The 'Tennessee Waltz' will continue to be one of Country music's all-time classics.'
'Redd was a true Country music pioneers, and should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I would not be surprised to see him elected to the Rock Hall of Fame, as well. The 'Tennessee Waltz' was recorded by a number of 'pop' legends, and the Rock Hall of Fame here in Cleveland has already recognized many Country music legends as influences. I was lucky enough to have been able to play some of Redd's 70s stuff on Hickory when I first got into radio. He never strayed from the true Country sounds, and his music will live on. Redd's music stands the test of time.'
'The 'Tennessee Waltz' alone must be given much of the credit for Country music's commercial surge and the future integration of America's popular music forms. How can this man not be in the Hall of Fame? He devoted almost six decades of his life to the Country music industry. He touched people world-wide, and is entitled to the highest honor of Country music.'
'I am a Bluegrass DJ at public radio station WFPK 91.9 FM, Louisville, KY. Redd came to my show several times. One time was on my annual New Year's Day Hank Williams, Sr. Show. Another time was during one of our fund drives. Redd, along with his brother, Bill Stewart and the Stewart Family, very graciously performed during the drive. My thanks and remembrances to Redd for everything - all of your great songs and the 'Tennessee Waltz.'
CMA and anyone else who has anything to do with selections to the Country Music Hall of Fame should have to stand up and account to the true fans why Redd Stewart and others like him are not so honored.'
(Berk Bryant/Radcliff, KY)
'I am all in favor of Redd Stewart being installed in the Hall of Fame. Having counted him as one of my all-time favorites. I wonder if I am your oldest correspondent having turned 82 Christmas day, 2003? I was brought up on Country music from a very early age. My son has a bigger collection than me, and mine is no means small, and he has got my grandson interested in it and playing guitar, too. Yes, if it's only for the wonderful 'Tennessee Waltz,' Redd belongs in the Hall of Fame for sure.'
(Chris Clark/West Midlands, UK)
'I had the pleasure of working with Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart in Beltsville, Maryland at the Tin Dipper. Loved it and love Redd Stewart! He should have been put in the Hall of Fame years ago.'
(Dan - electric banjo man/TN)
'I love Country music and as I am almost 79 years old, I've listened to quite a bit of their music and I can remember this gentleman. I think he deserves to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.'
(Bess Hillard/Elmore, OH)
'We lost one of the greatest voices in Country music when we lost Redd Stewart. I had the chance to do a show with Redd at the fair in Lebanon, Tennessee a few years ago, and it was a thrill to get to meet him for I had been a fan of his and Pee Wee King for many years. Hope the industry will put Redd in the Country Music Hall of Fame for he truly belongs there. Redd is gone but not forgotten.'
(Ernie Ashworth - Grand Ole Opry Member/Nashville, TN)
'Your wonderful website brought back so many memories of a childhood listening to Redd's songs. I actually achieved a medal in Ballroom Dancing many years ago, performing a traditional waltz to 'Tennessee Waltz!' It also brought back reminders of my own father (who passed away nearly two years ago), who was a pioneer guitarist here in Australia, Barry Thornton. Though he was never a singer, he was also passionate about helping the younger artists, was very humble about the many awards given to him over the years, and was the best dad a girl could have. I would definitely cast my vote for Redd Stewart into your Country Music Hall of Fame.'
(Meryl Davis/Brisbane, Old Australia)
'In the very first weeks of the release of 'Tennessee Waltz' I had the chance to see Redd, Pee Wee King & the Golden West Cowboys on stage in Lodi, Indiana. My brother and I had just finished competing in a talent contest where we took second place, and we elected to stay for the main show. We were so impressed by the 'Stars' that we both went on to perform professionally. My brother, Allen, a marine from Barstow, went on to work with the Buck & Doty Show in Bakersfield, CA in 1949-1950. I later was a member of the studio band at -KREX-TV in western Colorado for two years as a fiddle player and guitar man. I thank Redd & Pee Wee for inspiring us.'
'The compliment of stars in the Country Music Hall of Fame cannot be complete until you have inducted the co-writer of the state song of Tennessee, the 'Tennessee Waltz' - Redd Stewart.'
(John Bodin - Southern Productions/Wray, GA)
'In Country music it is very important to recognize those who helped pave the way. Wonderful songs like, 'Tennessee Waltz,' 'Soldiers Last Letter,' ect. were/are songs that have contributed largely in good and bad times. Good songs are never forgotten and still get airplay and at live performances. You have my vote 100% for Redd Stewart to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.'
(Doreen Brown/Toronto, Canada)
'What do you think Ernest Tubb's reaction would be if he knew that the writer of the timeless 'Tennessee Waltz' was excluded from the Country Music Hall of Fame? I imagine he would be shocked and saddened to make such a discovery.
If we don't recognize and honor men of stature like Redd Stewart, who helped mold and shape the soul of Country music, then how will generations to come ever understand or appreciate the history and roots of the music? Redd Stewart should be honored for his lasting contributions to the honest, full-bodied flavor of pure Country music.'
(Janice Holland/Cape Girardeau, MO)
'I had the honor of playing with Redd on several occasions. He was humble and gracious. A real gentleman. What a great tribute to Redd. I also worked with Gene Stewart, Redd's brother. What a gifted family! I look forward to seeing Redd's induction into the Hall of Fame. Yes! Don't wait!'
(Freddy Helm/Georgetown, IN)
'I didn't know Redd personally, but my husband, Freddy, did. Freddy plays saxophone and has worked with Redd, and with Gene, and has the highest regard for both of them. I did, however, have the privilege of getting to know Gene Stewart. He was such a talented man, and such a wonderful person. I thought the world of him, and still miss him! Yes, I would like to see Redd inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He certainly deserves it, and we look forward to seeing this accomplished. Real soon!'
(Vicki Helm/Georgetown, IN)
'Redd Stewart is so finely woven into the very fibers of our country. His music has been a very real part of our Country music heritage. America and the world has been blessed by his music.'
'His character and love for the music no money could buy. He had a natural knack and feeling that only comes from within when it comes to songwriting and being a musician. he should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.'
(Jack D. Ellenburg/Williamston, SC)
'Redd Stewart belongs in the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was the wind beneath Pee Wee King's wings.'
(Shirley A. Dawson/Madison, WI)
'How can anybody elect Pee Wee King to the Country Music Hall of Fame and not consider Redd Stewart? The two will always be remembered together by 'real' Country music fans.'
(Earl D. Roberts/Baker, FL)
'This is an honor that is long overdue. Redd Stewart belongs in the Country Music Hall of Fame.'
(Stephen Cotton/Louisville, KY)
'For a number of years prior to his illness, I had the privilege of working with Red. If I needed a bass player or a gold partner, he was always so gracious and 'down to earth.' Redd was the kind of fellow you would want your daughter to marry.
The last time I saw Redd was in July of 1997. Because of his condition at that time he failed to recognize me (or any one else.) Darlene must be admired for taking care of Redd during his lengthy illness. If I remember correctly Redd once told me he was a member of the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame. In the late 40's before I knew Redd, I worked with Gene Stewart, Redd's brother. I always enjoyed his dry wit and sense of humor. I am the only surviving member of that band. They have all passed on. Gene, Doug Daniels, John Alberding, and Neal Burris. In recent years I have attended many funerals of fellow musicians including Redd and Gene. The musical talent of both Redd and Gene enabled them to play not only Country but rock and pop. I know of no one more deserving to be a member of Country Music Hall of Fame than Redd Stewart.'
(Wesley Myers/Louisville, KY)
'A Country Music Hall of Fame without Redd Stewart is a crime. It is so important that he is elected immediately because the great Country radio announcers who have been around long enough to understand the greatness of this man, won't be in radio that many more years. Thank goodness for the likes of Dugg Collins, Johnny Western, Terry Burford, the late Ol' Mike Oatman and others who make sure their listeners know of the greats of yesteryear, such as Redd Stewart and Tommy Duncan. Come on folks, let's make this happen. I think it would be great also to have written petitions throughout America where we could all sign our written signatures as well. Or maybe a website we could all send notes to. Anything that will help this great music legend receive the credit he is due.'
'The first song my son, Jason Roberts, learned on the fiddle was 'Tennessee Waltz.' Without Redd and his music there wouldn't be any NEW Country musicians. Jason is now with Asleep At The Wheel, and is still playing 'Tennessee Waltz!'
If anybody deserves to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame, it's Redd Stewart. Even though we'll never get to tell him, thanks Redd!'
'Redd Stewart should be in the Hall of Fame for the many years he entertained people. He was given the gift to write the song, 'Tennessee Waltz' and the many other songs he helped to put on the airwaves. A great tradition of our Country music, and he well deserves the honor.'
(Cecil Edmunds/Waterford, MI)
'Redd Stewart should have been in the Country Music Hall of Fame years ago. In fact, I thought he was until I found this site through Leona William's website.'
(Lora Dell Perkins/Fort Payne, AL)
'It seems that the CMA, the Hall of Fame, and Nashville have forgotten about 'the ones that brought you there' in recent years. Such is the case in so many that wrote and performed what we as kids knew to be called with pride, Country/Western music! It is time that Redd Stewart has his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.'
(Duke Gilleland/Belton, TX)
'A Country Music Hall of Fame without the prince of Country music, Redd Stewart, is like washing your feet with your socks on. It just doesn't work. Redd Stewart's induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is long overdue.'
'I am a great admirer of Redd Stewart and his works. As a fellow artist, I am appalled that he is not recognized in the Hall of Fame. He and his accomplishments far surpass many of his piers. I indeed feel that he should be included among those who have earned the privilege such as this.'
'Writing the 'Tennessee Waltz' alone should get Redd Stewart into the Country Music Hall of Fame, not counting all the many other things he did for the industry.'
(Little Jimmy Dickensm -Grand Ole Opry Member)
'On behalf of kelticountry, please enroll truly one of the greatest entertainers/songwriters on the planet into the Hall of Fame. Thank you.'
(Maureen Flavin Feeney/Dublin, Ireland)
'I vote to have Redd Stewart inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Not only did he write some beautiful music, I loved to hear him sing. He was always courteous to his fans, as well.'
'I had the pleasure of having met Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King - one could not have had as much success without the other. My vote to put him in the Country Music Hall of Fame.'
(Hank Cunningham/Glenwood, AR)
'He was one of the many great singer/songwriters of his time, and the songs live on. He should have a place in the Hall of Fame. You have my vote!'
(Dawn - aka Delta Dawn/AR)
'Being a lover of Country music, I think Redd Stewart is entitled to be in the Hall of Fame. I've done a lot of playing and singing, and I've sung his songs many times. Still playing them at 78 years old! I was a teenager when these songs came out. He deserves my vote.'
(Wilma Swinimer/Nova Scotia, Canada)
'How can you not put this extra ordinary talent in the Hall of Fame? His talents and songwriting ability are irreplaceable. His many accomplishments warrant his admission. Songs like, 'Tennessee Waltz' will live forever. He should be honored for this with your admission to the Hall of Fame.'