“For all country music fans, this night is long overdue.” Those were Garth Brooks’ opening words as he inducted the late Keith Whitley into the Country Music Hall of Fame during a private Medallion Ceremony at the museum’s CMA Theater on October 16. Brooks then introduced Whitley’s wife Lorrie Morgan and presented her with Whitley’s Hall of Fame member medallion.
Brooks, who called Whitley “one of the greatest voices to ever grace country music,” performed an acoustic version of Whitley’s 1998 #1 hit “Don’t Close Your Eyes” during the ceremony.
Record company executive Joe Galante and music icon Jerry Lee Lewis were also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the star-studded Medallion Ceremony, which featured performances and tributes by Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen of Alabama, Bill Anderson, Ricky Skaggs, Kenny Chesney, Mickey Guyton, Chris Isaak, Miranda Lambert, the McCrary Sisters, Justin Moses, Molly Tuttle, and Lee Ann Womack.
Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum