FLORENCE, Ala. – The stars were shining in the Shoals as the Alabama Music Hall of Fame welcomed a new class. The event, which only happens every two or three years, was held at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center March 23rd.
We caught up with some of the people who were being inducted, including Lenny LeBlanc, part of the 70’s rock/pop duo Leblanc and Carr. Pete Carr’s family was there to accept in his memory. He passed away in 2020.
“I’m kinda broken hearted that Pete can’t be here because he was such a big part of my life,” Lenny told me before the event, “He gave me my start and I owe so much to him. We grew up as teenagers in Florida and played in some bands, so it is bittersweet.”
Earl “Peanutt” Montgomery wrote more than 70 songs with George Jones, including the hit, “We’re Gonna Hold On.” A friend gave Peanutt some advice that he took to heart. “He said if you just believe, it finally comes around you know and people will honor you,” he said, “And to not give up you know and never quit.”
Composer, arranger, conductor and educator, Dr. Henry Panion, III has worked with stars like Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder to Carrie Underwood and Ruben Studdard. Hall of Fame member Randy Owen of Alabama introduced Panion who called the night unbelievable. “I’m just amazed really but to have your lifelong work recognized in this way and to be alongside some of the Alabama greats, it’s really an amazing honor,” he said.
And Pell City’s Jeanne Pruett, best known for her number one hit, “Satin Sheets’ in 1973, called the night a blessing. “It’s one of the great honors of my life because I’ve known about this award for many, many years and I know to be relevant in the business 25 years to be considered as a member for membership, and so I’m delighted they got around to me and grateful that they did,” she said.
Birmingham bluegrass band, Three on a String was also inducted. Huntsville songwriter Jim McBride who wrote four number one hits with Alan Jackson, including “Chattahoochee,” was also inducted. Jim says going into the Hall of Fame is the biggest hit of his career. “Alabama is my home state and I love it,” he told me, “And to be honored by your home state, that’s really big.”
It truly was a night that stars fell on Alabama. When the last note was played, and the stage lights were dimmed, the folks at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame enjoyed the rest of the night and started planning for the next induction in a couple of years.