Toby Keith’s Posthumous Induction into Country Music Hall of Fame Serves An Important Reminder

toby keith

Toby Keith will be posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year—and it is an honor that his fans believe he should have been able to accept in life.

The legendary singer and songwriter passed away on February 5, 2024, just one day before the inductees were officially selected. Technically, an artist cannot be chosen for an induction class the same year they die. But because the first ballot went out in December 2023, the organization considered it a loophole.

Toby Keith’s family announced his death on February 6th. And the Hall of Fame team learned that voters chose him for the Modern Era category only hours after they heard the news.

“This year we anticipated receiving the names of our final inductees on Tuesday, Feb. 6th,” CMA CEO Sarah Trahern said during a press conference on March 18. “As we know now, we woke up that morning to the heartbreaking news that our friend Toby Keith had lost his long battle with stomach cancer.”

While the Hall of Fame did put Toby into the mix and officially voted him in before his death, fans are upset that the organization waited until his health was declining to consider him.

Fans Criticize the Country Music Hall of Fame For Not Inducting Toby Keith Sooner

Toby Keith’s social media pages posted the Hall of Fame news on March 18th. And unappy fans flooded the comment sections. Everyone believes the iconic singer deserved the vote. However, they don’t understand why it took so long. And they question why so many artists die before receiving the honor.

Several people remembered Toby Keith mentioning that being a part of the Hall of Fame would be one of his most beloved career milestones. But even he knew he’d probably never live to see it happen.

“I remember one of his last interviews he said he would have to die before he was inducted,” someone wrote. “Kills me that he was right. So more than deserved SO long ago! ❤ we miss you!”

“‘Don’t you have to be dead to be inducted.’ 😢 I’ve seen him every time he was in Pittsburgh,” another fan added. “It became a yearly outing for my friend and me. I never mourned a person I never met like I am Toby. RIP.”

Others couldn’t understand why the organization didn’t consider Toby Keith much sooner. He had been in the industry since 1993 when he released his debut single, Should’ve Been a Cowboy, which went straight to the top of the charts. And he remained one of the most influential and loved country singers for the remainder of his life. 

“I wish they did this while he was still here,” someone commented. “He deserved this ages ago. RIP Toby 🙏🏻”

“Sorry, but I think this really means nothing once someone has died. It should always be an honor given to someone while alive to show them the impact they have made on so many lives.” Sad,” another shared.

Toby Keith’s induction will take place sometime this fall. Singer John Anderson and guitarist James Burton are also part of the 2024 class.

This story’s featured image is by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BMI.

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