Dottie West’s Hall of Fame Induction ‘a Win for Every Little Girl Who Dares to Dream Big’
Dottie West's 2018 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is a hard-fought victory: For years, fans, family members and industry peers have lobbied hard for her inclusion. On Tuesday (March 27), their work paid off, and West was named one of three country legends (alongside Johnny Gimble and Ricky Skaggs) in the Hall of Fame's Class of 2018. She enters the Hall in the category of Veterans Era Artist.
West's storied career included collaborations with legends such as Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves and Kenny Rogers. While she initially gained fame as a songwriter and then as a duet partner, the Tennessee native made a name for herself in the 1960s with Top 10 hits such as "Here Comes My Baby Back Again" and "Paper Mansions." She was a Grand Ole Opry member as well as the first solo female vocalist to win a Grammy.
In 1991, at the age of 58, West died from injuries sustained in a car accident while on her way to perform at the Opry. The country singer was warmly remembered on Tuesday morning as her son Kerry West, granddaughter Tess Frizzell and longtime friend and fellow country singer Jeannie Seely took the stage to accept the honor on West's behalf.
"She was the kind of girl you want for a friend," Seely recalled of West from stage. "Dottie's path was never easy, but she had the strongest determination.
"Most of you who know Dottie well know that she loved little lights -- candles everywhere, and they all had to be burning all the time," Seely added. "I can't help but think that she's gonna have every damn light in heaven burning tonight."
Frizzell concluded her family's remarks with an impromptu sentiment about her grandmother: "[My mother] told me about this three weeks ago," she shared. "She called me and said, 'Are you sitting? ... She is in.' And I knew what she meant. I wanted to say that this is such a big win for all of us, for her family and her fans, and also for every little girl that dares to dream big."
In an interview following the press conference, Frizzell (the niece of Lefty and David Frizzell, country stars in their own rights) told The Boot more about what the institution of country music means to her and her family, and why her mother didn't need to say anything beyond those three words -- "She is in" -- for Frizzell to know that West had been selected for the 2018 class of Hall of Fame inductees.
"I grew up on a tour bus," Frizzell explains. "I've got the West side of my family and the Frizzell side of my family. I just knew that this was going to happen one day.
"When she said the words, I just knew there was nothing else it could be," she adds. "It was all we've been waiting for, and it felt very full circle."
Here's the Full List of Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees