Commentary: Should There Be Christian Music Halls of “Fame”?

Commentary: Should There Be Christian Music Halls of “Fame”?

Of all the aspects of the Christian music industry that bother me, one that always seems to stick out is the idea of Halls of Fame. We have the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and various state halls of fame. All are filled with what many would consider to be pioneers in Christian music.

But it’s DBM’s recent ballot for this year’s Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame induction that brought about my own conflict with the idea as a whole.

In his post, DBM points out that William Lee Golden (one of his nominees) pretty much defines the word “fame”:

Golden’s fame extends beyond the typical boundaries of the Southern Gospel market into the mainstream.

In this case, yes, I agree. Golden deserves to be in a hall of fame (he’s in several now, actually, as both an individual and as a member of The Oak Ridge Boys).

My argument, however is that fame is not something that Christian singers should necessarily be seeking (and, truth be told, if you ask any SG artist why they’re singing today, pretty much nobody will admit to “fame” being one of their driving forces, even if it is something they secretly desire), so why should we label them as having fame? That doesn’t mean we can’t pay tribute to those who have had a major influence on Christian music in some way; I just don’t think labeling it as “fame” is a good idea.

My proposal is that the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame should be renamed as a Hall of Honor. Yes, it still presents the same idea, and functionally, nothing much would change, but the idea is that we are honoring those who have influenced SG music (rather than proclaiming their own fame). On a somewhat deeper level, removing “fame” from the equation also removes the possibility of “infamy” being attached (“Oh, yeah, that person is FAMOUS for all the bad thing they did!”). “Honor” accomplishes the same effect, but also gives a bit of prestige to the inductee, while also adding a bit of humility.

What say you? Do you think “fame” should be dropped, or is it ok? Would “honor” be a better label? Or perhaps something else entirely?

Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at www.kyleboreing.com, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

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3 Comments

  1. Tad Kirkland
    Reply June 15, 22:51 #1 Tad Kirkland

    Words, terms or phrases come to mean different things over time. The phrase “Hall Of Fame” has become the common terminology used to acknowledge the most beloved in multiple entities.
    I see it as splitting hairs or and attempt at over-spititualizing the terminology to change it for Gospel singers—like calling people who like Gospel singers “friends” verses “fans” (they’re not “friends”—you wouldn’t be hanging out with them, you just want them to buy your music. Call it what it is!).
    Your same argument could apply to awards and the charting of songs.




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  2. David Bruce Murray
    Reply June 16, 10:15 #2 David Bruce Murray

    They are famous, whether that was their primary intent or not.

    Even if it’s called a Hall Of Honor, it would be surprising if anyone was ever selected who wasn’t also famous to the degree that gospel artists can be famous. I agree with Tad. It would just be semantics.

    My greater concern is when a singer or group is shunned by a Hall Of Fame for reasons other than the fact that they are famous, while at the same time, less famous individuals or groups are admitted with regularity.




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  3. Dean Adkins
    Reply June 18, 00:07 #3 Dean Adkins

    I see no problem with utilization of “Fame” as part of the name. Induction is always going to be controversial. As indicated by DBM, some are left out and others are inducted but each voter bases it on his/her likes and dislikes.
    I see using Honor rather than Fame as nit-picking and gives an air of “holier than thou.”




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