NASHVILLE – The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame unveiled a permanent exhibition gallery Sunday as part of the opening of the new 1.2 million-square-foot Music City Center.
“It’s a big day for the Nashville songwriting community,” said Pat Alger, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation chairman, in a news release. “It took a lot of devoted volunteers a long time to get this done, but after seeing the Hall of Fame gallery with people standing around it, appreciating the work and using the touchscreen displays to learn about the writers behind the songs, I’d say it was well worth it.”
Alger is also a member of the hall, having written Garth Brooks’ Unanswered Prayers and The Thunder Rolls, as well as hits for Trisha Yearwood, Kathy Mattea and others.
Several of the 188 members were on hand to perform and talk to some of the 15,000 people who visited the Music City Center during its grand opening. Performers included Bill Anderson (Whiskey Lullaby, The Tips of My Fingers), Bobby Braddock (He Stopped Loving Her Today, I Want to Talk About Me), Sonny Curtis (I Fought the Law, I’m No Stranger to the Rain), Don Schlitz (The Gambler, Forever and Ever, Amen), Larry Henley (Wind Beneath My Wings, ‘Til I Get It Right), Rory Michael Bourke (I Know a Heartache When I See One, Shadows in the Moonlight) and Thom Schuyler (16th Avenue, Love Will Turn You Around).
The gallery features artifacts from songwriters, as well as three 55-inch touchscreens that allow visitors to access sound, music and digital information about Nashville’s songwriting history. The hall’s members have their names engraved in an outdoor Songwriters Square and on stone stops leading into the interior display.
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame was established in 1970 and adds four members each year. Members include Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Don and Phil Everly, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams Sr. and Hank Williams Jr.
Former USA TODAY editor Ken Paulson serves as vice chairman for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation.