It was an emotional night at Nashville’s CMA Theater when The Judds, comprised of Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd, were officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, just one day after Naomi’s tragic death.
The Judd family requested that the medallion ceremony proceed despite Naomi’s death and her daughters, Wynonna Judd and Ashley Judd, were on-hand to accept the honor.
Tears were flowing as the sisters appeared on stage embracing each other as they prepared to address the invitation-only audience.
“First, I would like to congratulate tonight’s other inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame and salute your excellence,” Ashley said of The Judds’ fellow inductees Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers, and Pete Drake.
“My mama loved you so much and she appreciated your love for her, and I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today,” Ashley emotionally told the crowd.
“Your esteem for you and your regard for her really penetrated her heart and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in these last years. And please come see pop, please do come see him,” Ashley continued. “And while this is so much about The Judds as a duo, I wanted to take a moment to recognize my sister, a G.O.A.T.”
Wynonna admitted she was going to keep her speech brief and said that she was feeling a range of emotions.
“I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most,” the Country Music Hall of Fame inductee said. “I’m gonna make this fast, because my heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed.”
“You all know that I’m all about the songs. The music. I could give a rip, really, about the rest, because it all comes and goes,” Wynonna explained, adding, “Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do.”
Ashley and Wynonna recited Psalm 23 as they bid farewell to their mother.
The Judd sisters were introduced by Country Music Hall of Fame member Rickey Skaggs, who shared, “Well, we’re not going to be sad today, we’re going to have joy. Already had joy today seeing so many wonderful people and hearing so many wonderful things. Just to see these two strong women, that’s just so amazing to me cause I know the Lord is giving you strength.”
Several tribute performances followed Wynonna and Ashley’s remarks: Tommy Simms performed “Love Can Build A Bridge,” Gillian Welch and David Rawlings performed “Young Love (Strong Love)” and Carly Pearce performed “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days).”
Naomi Judd’s death shocked the country music community on Saturday, April 30.
Her passing was revealed on social media in a statement from her daughters. “Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the statement read. “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
The unfortunate news comes just weeks after Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd reunited for a performance of “Love Can Build A Bridge” at the 2022 CMT Music Awards.
Their performance coincided with the announcement of The Judds’ farewell tour, which was set to kick off on September 30 and hit 10 cities with support from Martina McBride.
The mother-daughter duo earned 14 No. 1 hits during their career that spanned nearly three decades, including “Love Can Build a Bridge,” “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me,” “Turn It Loose,” “Girls Night Out,” “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” and “Grandpa.”
The Judds toured in the ’80s where they had a catalog of twenty Top 10 hits, 20 million-plus albums sold, a combined 16 Gold, Platinum, and multi-Platinum albums, and The Judds Greatest Hits.
Since launching their career in 1983, the duo went on to release six studio albums and an EP. The superstar pair have also won several awards, including nine CMA Awards, seven Academy Of Country Music Awards and five GRAMMY Awards for hits like “Why Not Me” and “Give A Little Love.”
After rising to fame, the iconic country duo broke up in 1991 after Doctors diagnosed Naomi with hepatitis c.
In addition to her celebrated music career, Naomi was also an actress, having appeared in several TV movies and TV series.