Walter Hawkins, Mylon Le Fevre, Evie Tornquist, The Lewis Family, Ronn Huff, Don Light and Lou Hildreth were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame Feb. 22 near Nashville, Tenn.
John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, said each is deserving of the honor “not only for their individual artistic contributions to gospel music, but for the profound influence they had on artists that followed them. Their contributions to gospel music will be forever remembered by this honor.”
Hawkins first emerged in the youth choir that recorded “Oh, Happy Day” and went on to become an accomplished recording artist, songwriter and producer. Le Fevre wrote “Without Him,” which was first recorded by Elvis Presley when Le Fevre was just 17 years old, according to a GMA news release. Tornquist was widely known by only her first name and is often referred to as the Amy Grant of previous generations.
The Lewis Family is known as the first family of bluegrass gospel music. Huff’s arrangements have been among the recordings of artists like Bill and Gloria Gaither, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, George Strait and Sandi Patty.
Light began as a Grand Ole Opry drummer and went on to launch the first booking agency for gospel music artists. Hildreth was an artist, songwriter, publisher and television host who became the first woman to own a gospel music artist booking agency.
The GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame was established in 1971 and has inducted 125 total members including Elvis Presley, Amy Grant, the Oak Ridge Boys, Petra and Bill and Gloria Gaither.