By The Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -1959 Salem-Liberty High School graduate Connie Smith has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Other inductees this year are country music legend Barth Brooks and keyboard player Hargus "Pig" Robbins.
Brooks' induction caps one of the most astounding and important music careers in American history. At 50, though, Brooks isn't done yet.
He's one of the hall's youngest living inductees and might be a few short years from launching the second phase of a career that forced country music into the national consciousness and sold more albums than Michael Jackson.
All three inductees noted the contribution of others to their success. Brooks thought his induction might be "premature," given the long list of others he believes should already be enshrined.
Smith, whose first single in 1964, "Once a Day," was a No. 1 hit for eight weeks, is a pioneer female country singer who released her 53rd album last year. She was discovered by Bill Anderson, who saw her singing in a talent contest in Columbus. The wife of fellow country star Marty Stuart, she had a series of hits in the 1960s and '70s and parlayed that success into movie and television appearances.
She said she was in the middle of preparing dinner when she found out she was inducted. When asked what she did after the call, she responded: "Finished supper."
Robbins, blind since childhood, is considered among the top session players in Nashville over a 50-year career that's included work for everyone from George Jones to Bob Dylan. He played on Jones' iconic No. 1 hit "White Lightning" and spent the next several decades contributing to a mind-boggling string of classic songs and albums.