Willie Nelson’s induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been a long time coming

Katherine Bomboy/NBC

Country music’s elder statesman Willie Nelson was recently announced as one of 2023’s inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He follows 2022 member Dolly Parton as the latest country icon to receive this prestigious honor.

The recognition has been a long time coming for Willie, who has made an enduring impact on art and society by co-founding Outlaw Country, launching Farm Aid and championing marijuana legalization in the U.S., among other things.

“He’s somebody who has managed throughout his entire 90 years to find a way to make great music and have an impact on society,” Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement Jason Hanley tells ABC Audio. “I think when he finally ended up on the ballot this year, the voters said, ‘Yeah, this is somebody who’s connected to so many styles, sounds [and] artists.'”

“Every musician who’s come through the Hall of Fame in the last several months since he’s been nominated has said to me, ‘Man, Willie Nelson, an American treasure. Not only what an incredible musician, but what a great guy,'” he continues.

Joining Willie as one of 2023’s inductees is Sheryl Crow, who’s ecstatic that her longtime friend and collaborator is joining the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as well.

“Sheryl said one of the things she was most looking forward to during the inductions was seeing Willie get inducted,” Jason shares with a laugh. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if the two of them end up onstage at some point during the night together. I can just see that happening.”

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