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Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2016

August 10 2016

Pictured clockwise from top left: Townes Van Zandt, Bob Morrison, Aaron Barker, Beth Nielsen Chapman

Nashville, TN -- Townes Van Zandt, Bob Morrison, Aaron Barker and Beth Nielsen Chapman will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October, according to an announcement made Aug. 9 by Hall of Fame member Pat Alger, chair of the organization’s board of directors.

The four new inductees will join the 199 existing members of the elite organization when they are officially inducted during the 46th Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala on Sunday, October 9, at the Music City Center.

“The strength and power of the Nashville Songwriting Community is legendary all over the world,” says Alger. “The legacy of the creative forebears of the songwriters currently making the noise in our town is annually recognized by the induction of a few of those great writers into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. This year we are extremely proud to welcome the class of 2016: Aaron Barker and Beth Nielsen Chapman in the songwriter category; Bob Morrison in the veteran songwriter category and the late Townes Van Zandt as our songwriter/artist.”

Aaron Barker’s songwriter credits include “Baby Blue” and “Love Without End, Amen” (George Strait) and “What About Now” (Lonestar). Beth Nielsen Chapman’s resume is known for “Nothing I Can Do About It Now” (Willie Nelson), “Strong Enough To Bend” (Tanya Tucker) and “This Kiss” (Faith Hill). Bob Morrison is the tunesmith behind “Lookin’ For Love” (Johnny Lee), “Whiskey, If You Were A Woman” (Highway 101) and “You Decorated My Life” (Kenny Rogers). Townes Van Zandt popularized many of his own compositions, including “If I Needed You,” “Pancho And Lefty” and “To Live Is To Fly.”

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala is one of the music industry’s premier events of the year. The evening features tributes and performances of the inductees’ songs by special guest artists. In recent years artists such as Garth Brooks, Jimmy Buffett, Ronnie Dunn, Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Marty Stuart, Taylor Swift, Josh Turner and Trisha Yearwood have performed at or participated in the event. Fellow songwriter organization the Nashville Songwriters Association International also participates in the evening by presenting its annual awards for the year’s Best Song, Songwriter and Songwriter/Artist, as well as the Top 10 “Songs I Wish I Had Written” as determined by their professional songwriters division.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Gala are $250 each. Select seating is available to the public and may be purchased as available by contacting Executive Director Mark Ford at or 615-460-6556.

Inductee Biographical Information

AARON BARKER spent the better part of two decades in a band that performed at military bases and public events across the U.S. During long stretches on the bus he began experimenting with writing songs. His first attempt, “Baby Blue,” was recorded by George Strait and topped the country chart in Billboard. Aaron soon began performing his original material in small clubs and cafes. One night after a long father-son talk he wrote “Love Without End, Amen.” Once again his song was recorded by George Strait and topped the country chart. After that, more Strait hits followed: “Easy Come, Easy Go,” “I’d Like To Have That One Back,” “I Know She Still Loves Me” and “I Can Still Make Cheyenne.” Aaron’s hits with other artists include “Not Enough Hours In The Night” by Doug Supernaw, “Watch This” and “You’re Beginning To Get To Me” by Clay Walker and “What About Now” by Lonestar. Aaron is also the writer and singer of many radio and television commercials for the Blue Bell Ice Cream Company, including “Have Yourself A Blue Bell Country Day” and “The Good Ol’ Days.” In 2007 he was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame.

BETH NIELSEN CHAPMAN is a Texas-born “Air Force brat” who was raised on military bases from New England to Germany. Adept on guitar and piano, she began performing as a teenager in Montgomery, Ala. She signed her first song contract in 1979, then recorded her debut solo LP in 1980. After she moved to Nashville in 1985, she worked as a session singer while her songs found acceptance in the pop and country fields through cuts by artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, Michael McDonald and Bette Midler, as well as Pam Tillis, Crystal Gayle, Kathy Mattea and Emmylou Harris. Among Beth’s best-known songs are “Ain’t Necessarily So” and “Nothing I Can Do About It Now” by Willie Nelson, “Down On My Knees” by Trisha Yearwood, “Five Minutes” by Lorrie Morgan, “Happy Girl” by Martina McBride, “Here We Are” by Alabama, “Maybe That’s All It Takes” by Don Williams, “Simple Things” by Jim Brickman & Rebecca Lynn Howard and “Strong Enough To Bend” by Tanya Tucker. “This Kiss” by Faith Hill won 1999 Song of the Year with both ASCAP and the CMA. Beth has also been a regular visitor to the adult contemporary charts herself as an artist with 10 albums of her own.

BOB MORRISON is a Biloxi native who attended Mississippi State University on a track scholarship and graduated with a degree in nuclear engineering. While in college, he began writing songs and performing in clubs up and down the east coast which led to a record deal with Columbia Records in New York. In 1973 Bob moved to Nashville, where he signed with Combine Music and soon began getting cuts. In 1980, Bob won a Best Country Song Grammy for “You Decorated My Life” by Kenny Rogers. Also that year the film Urban Cowboy featured two of Bob’s songs: “Lookin’ For Love” by Johnny Lee and “Love The World Away” by Kenny Rogers. Other highlights from Bob’s catalog include “You’re The One” by The Oak Ridge Boys, “The Love She Found In Me” by Gary Morris, “Don’t Call Him A Cowboy” by Conway Twitty, “Are You On The Road To Loving Me Again” by Debby Boone, “Shine On (Shine All Your Sweet Love On Me)” by George Jones, “Whiskey, If You Were A Woman” by Highway 101 and “Tonight The Heartache’s On Me” by The Dixie Chicks. Bob was ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year in 1978, 1980, 1981 and 1982. He was NSAI Songwriter of the Year in 1980.

TOWNES VAN ZANDT was a “songwriter’s songwriter” who is widely regarded as the most influential Texas songwriter of his generation. Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, to an oil-rich family, Townes rejected a life of privilege to begin his folk-singing career in Houston in 1965. In 1968 he was discovered by Mickey Newbury, who brought him to Nashville. Throughout the next quarter century Townes would live, write and record in Music City, creating cult favorites such as “For The Sake Of The Song,” “Waiting ’Round To Die,” “To Live Is To Fly,” “No Place To Fall,” “Rex’s Blues,” “St. John The Gambler,” “Tecumseh Valley” and “White Freight Liner Blues.” Though critically acclaimed as a recording artist, he remained largely unknown to the mainstream save for covers of his recordings such as “If I Needed You” by Emmylou Harris & Don Williams and “Pancho And Lefty” by Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard. Townes died Jan. 1, 1997, at age 52, after struggling with alcoholism throughout his career. In 2012, he was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame.