Toby Keith Will Be Inducted Into the Country Hall of Fame This Year

Toby Keith Will Be Inducted Into the Country Hall of Fame This Year

The country music star Toby Keith, who died last month after battling stomach cancer, has been selected for the Country Music Hall of Fame despite a rule against electing artists in the year of their death, the Country Music Association said on Monday.

The induction is moving forward on a technicality: The vote closed on Feb. 2 — three days before the singer’s death on Feb. 5 at age 62.

A few hours after officials at the association learned about the death of Keith, the artist behind No. 1 country hits like “Who’s Your Daddy?” and “Made in America,” they received the results of the vote, which included Keith as a chosen inductee.

“My heart sank that Tuesday afternoon, knowing that we had missed the chance to inform Toby while he was still with us,” Sarah Trahern, the chief executive of the Country Music Association, said as the group announced the new inductees on Monday.

It is not uncommon for inductees to be added to the hall of fame posthumously, but the association’s rule specifically disallows artists to be elected in the year of their death. “That doesn’t apply this year,” Trahern said.

With a catalog that included both traditional honky-tonk and pop-country, Keith released 20 No. 1 Billboard country singles during his three-decade career. He was a political lightning rod at times, and many remember Keith, who wrote or co-wrote most of his material, for his post-9/11 song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” which proclaimed that putting a “boot in your ass” is the “American way.”

Chosen by an anonymous panel of voters, Keith will join more than 150 figures who have helped shape country music, a roster that includes Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley and Charley Pride. The other two additions to the hall of fame that were announced Monday are the musicians John Anderson and James Burton, who will be inducted along with Keith in October at the CMA Theater in Nashville.

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