The Country Music Hall of Fame will induct The Judds into its ranks on Sunday night, however the death of Naomi Judd a day earlier will undoubtedly alter the normally celebratory ceremony.
The hall said on Saturday evening that it would continue the ceremony at the request of Judd’s familybut with “a heavy heart and a weighted mind,” according to CEO Kyle Young.
“Looking forward to seeing your lovely faces on the red carpet on Sunday!” Wynonna said Friday in a tweet that has since been deleted. The room said that, out of respect for the passing of Naomi Judd, they were canceling the red carpet and postponed to May 1.
The Judds had also just announced an arena tour that would begin in the fall, their first tour together in over a decade. They also made a return to award shows when they performed at the CMT Music Awards earlier this month.
Mother-daughter act Naomi and Wynonna Judd were among the most popular duets of the 1980sscoring 14 No. 1 hits over their nearly three-decade career.
The Judds’ hits include “Love Can Build a Bridge” in 1990, “Mama He’s Crazy” in 1984, “Why Not Me” in 1984, “Turn It Loose” in 1988, “Girls Night Out” in 1985, “Rockin’ To the rhythm of the rain” in 1986 and “Grandfather” in 1986.
Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd of The Judds attend the 2022 CMT Music Awards at Nashville Municipal Auditorium on April 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for CMT)
Choosing to go ahead with Sunday’s ceremony, the Country Hall of Fame noted the remarkable life of Naomi Judd.
“Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a prominent place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news,” Young said in a statement.
Naomi’s death was announced on social media by her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley. She was 76 years old.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to mental illness,” the statement read. “We are devastated. We navigate deep grief and know that, as we loved her, she was loved by her audience. We are in uncharted territory.”
Naomi Judd died near Nashville, Tennessee, said a statement on behalf of her husband and fellow singer, Larry Strickland. He said no further details of his death would be released and asked for confidentiality as the family mourned.
On Sunday, the County Music Hall of Fame was also expected to induct Ray Charles posthumously.
Inductees are usually honored with speeches, performances of their songs, and the unveiling of a plaque that will hang in the Hall of Fame rotunda.
Charles’ induction will feature his genre-defying country releases, which have shown the commercial appeal of the genre. The Georgia-born singer and pianist grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and in 1962 released “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,” which became one of the best-selling country songs of its day.
Charles’ version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You” spent five weeks atop the Billboard 100 chart and remains one of his most popular songs. He died in 2004.
The Hall of Fame will also honor two recording musicians: Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake.
Bayers, a drummer in Nashville for decades who worked on 300 platinum records, is a member of the Grand Ole Opry band. He has regularly performed on records for The Judds, Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. He is the first drummer to join the institution.
Drake, who died in 1988, was a pedal steel guitarist and member of the A team of skilled session musicians from Nashville. He played on hits like Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. . He is the first pedal steel guitar player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.