Three distinguished artists from vastly different backgrounds—each of whom committed himself to country music early in life—were welcomed into the Country Music Hall of Fame during a star-studded, emotionally moving Medallion Ceremony on Sunday, November 21.
Dean Dillon, Marty Stuart, and Hank Williams Jr. were honored in the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with heartfelt testimonials and once-in-a-lifetime musical tributes over the three-hour ceremony. “This is the pinnacle for what we do,” Hall of Fame member George Strait said when inducting songwriter Dean Dillon.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young, in his introduction, said: “These three men traveled very different paths to earning country music’s most hallowed honor. . . . One [was] raised middle class, one impoverished, and one wealthy. They’ll forever be honored together at this museum.”
Songwriter Dean Dillon has written hits for country acts from Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius to Kenny Chesney, Vern Gosdin, Toby Keith, and Keith Whitley. Dillon’s contributions to George Strait’s body of work—from co-writing Strait’s first charting single, “Unwound,” written with Frank Dycus, to signature songs “The Chair,” “Marina Del Rey,” and “Ocean Front Property”—defined both men’s careers. Dillon’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” written with Linda Hargrove, charted for David Allan Coe, George Jones, and Chris Stapleton. Dillon wrote with and for masters, eventually becoming a master himself.