Nominees for Georgia’s Music Hall of Fame announced

State Sen. Nathan Dean, chairman of the House Music Industry Committee, last week announced the nominees for this year’s inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Dean, a church-going veteran Legislative veteran from Rockmart, seemed perfectly at ease introducing the B-52’s as “The band that made it OK to be different,” and cheerily enthusing that R.E.M. “has been exploring, experimenting and producing music for themselves and everyone who would listen.”

But Dean hit his stride when, finishing up the category for performing group inductee nominees, he named the Sunshine Boys, whose 1951 release, “Peace in the Valley,” was the first gospel record to sell 1 million copies.

Such is the eclectic nature of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

“We have the godfather of soul, James Brown, of Augusta,” Gov. Roy Barnes boomed to 50-odd people assembled to hear the nominees announced at the offices of Georgia Public Television on 14th Street. “We have the architect of rock and roll, Little Richard Penniman of Macon. We have the kings of alternative rock, R.E.M of Athens.”

Barnes didn’t mention opera great Jessye Norman of Augusta, but that’s who 16-year-old Allison Jones was thinking of. Jones is the Georgia Music Hall of Fame’s 2000 Talent Search winner and, like Norman, she sings opera. She was pleased that Dean mentioned her three years of study with an “Eye-talian opera singer” but she may have been relieved that he didn’t attempt her teacher’s name.

Other nominees in the three remaining categories are: Chuck Leavell, Trisha Yearwood and Doug Stone in the “performer” category; Michael Greene, L.A. Reid, and Tom Wright in the “non-performer”category; and Little Jimmy Dempsey, Wally Fowler and Ralph Peer for the Posthumous Award.

The awards will be announced Sept. 16 at the 22nd Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Banquet at the Georgia World Congress Center.

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