Ronnie Milsap Leads Country Music Hall of Fame Class of 2014

(Radio.com) The Country Music Association announced Tuesday (April 22), that Hank Cochran, Mac Wiseman and Ronnie Milsap will be the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In a ceremony held yesterday morning at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Rotunda in Nashville, Tenn., Kix Brooks introduced the induction as "the most important day in country music and something everyone looks forward to." And for Cochran, Wiseman and Milsap it would be a career-altering day.

Bobby Bare, one of last year's three Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, introduced the late Hank Cochran, who is the 2014 inductee in the songwriter category. Known by many simply as The Legend, Bare talked of first meeting Cochran and his impact on country music.

"This guy was a great songwriter," Bare said. "He called himself The Legend long before he was ever a legend. I've been his friend for 60 years. When I hitchhiked to L.A.. the first person I met was The Legend. He could break your heart with a set of lyrics. He fell in love at least once a month, and he would marry 'em. Most of us guys would fall in love, and it didn't work out and we'd split, but he would marry 'em."

Cochran's wife of 21 years, Suzi, went to the podium to talk on his behalf. Cochran died in 2010 in Nashville at the age of 74. "I never dreamt it would be me and not Hank standing here," she said. "I'm so proud of Hank and I'm so thrilled for our family. It's hard for me to picture Hank without a pen and paper in hand. He would have loved to be here today to thank the nominating committee, CMA members and all of his friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Songs Cochran wrote or cowrote include "Make the World Go Away," the George Strait hits "The Chair" and "Ocean Front Property," It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)," and the Patsy Cline classic "I Fall to Pieces."

Wiseman was inducted next and acknowledged as a "veterans era" artist. Appearing side-stage in a wheelchair, the bluegrass legend talked of his appreciation at being inducted the same year as his friend Cochran.

"What a pleasure it is to visit with you folks today. This is the height of things that have happened for me in the 70 years I've been in music," he said. "I hope I will prove worthy of the honor. I can't say how pleased I am [to be inducted] in the same year as Hank Cochran. I remember the first time he came to California, he was just an old country boy. He got a job at the ballpark to make a living." more on this story

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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