Kentucky Senator Rand Paul Calls For Keith Whitley To Be Inducted Into Country Music Hall Of Fame

Keith Whitley with long hair

How is Keith Whitley not in the Country Music Hall of Fame already?

Every year, the Hall of Fame selects inductees from three categories: Modern Era, Veterans Era, and Non-Performer, Songwriter, or Recording and/or Touring Musician active prior to 1980. A Modern Era artist is eligible for the Hall of Fame 20 years after they first achieve “national prominence,” while a Veterans Era artist is eligible after 40 years.

This year’s inductees were announced back in August, with Ray Charles, The Judds, and musicians Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake getting the nod for the 2021 class.

And even though it’s been almost 36 years since Keith Whitley released his first full-length album, L.A. to Miami, the late singer still hasn’t been given his rightful place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Despite the fact that he only released two full-length albums during his life (a third, I Wonder Do You Think Of Me, was released three months after his death), it’s undeniable the impact that Keith Whitley has had on country music.

In fact, I firmly believe that if he had lived, Keith Whitley would have been one of the biggest superstars country music has ever seen.

Hell, look at the mark he left with just three albums: He influenced an entire generation of country singers, many of whom still cite him as one of the greatest country singers to have ever lived. He has hit after hit after hit that are still standards to this day. The emotion that he put into his music is something that you can’t teach – it’s something you have to live.

Even Garth Brooks has said that he believes Keith Whitley belongs in the Hall of Fame.

And now Rand Paul, the Senator from Keith Whitley’s home state of Kentucky, is adding his voice to the push.

In a Facebook post, Paul called on the Country Music Hall of Fame to give Keith Whitley his “rightful, well-earned and deserved place” among country music’s best.

“I’ve always enjoyed country music, especially when that music is authored by Kentuckians. Recently, I joined my fellow Kentuckians in supporting Elliott County native, Keith Whitley to be inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Keith Whitley began his journey on the stage at the age of four, and by the age of eight he was performing on the radio. His official debut came during his early teen years, when he was recording with major artists of the time and touring. He was sought out for his talent in both musical and vocal abilities.

He made a giant impact on the music industry, mainly for his love of country music. Many well-known artists like Garth Brooks look to him as one to follow in the footsteps of as they began their country music journey. Keith Whitley was not just a singer that left country music too soon. He is a true artist whose music is still loved and being shared today.

Keith Whitley should be put in his rightful, well-earned and deserved place in The Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Couldn’t agree more.

Keith Whitley’s life was tragically cut short at just 34 years old, only 5 years after he released his debut EP. But in those 5 years, he left a mark on country music unlike any other.

It’s time that he gets his rightful spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

And now for my favorite Keith Whitley song…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock