NASHVILLE – The Music City Walk of Fame has announced four new inductees: three-time GRAMMY Award-winner Darius Rucker; Don McLean of “American Pie” fame; rock and roll guitarist Duane Eddy; and former record-label executive Joe Galante, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced today. The induction ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 4 at 11 a.m. at Music City Walk of Fame Park. Members of the public are invited to view the ceremony.
“This exceptional inductee class for the Music City Walk of Fame embody iconic moments in the history of music – from Darius Rucker’s rendition of “Wagon Wheel” to Don McLean’s classic “American Pie” to the distinctive twang of Duane Eddy’s guitar,” said Ken Levitan, Chairman of the NCVC Board of Directors and Founder and Co-President of Vector Management. “Nashville’s music industry would not be the dominant force it is today without Joe Galante, who solidified Country as a leading genre in the record industry and who continues to nurture the next generation of music leaders through tech startups and entrepreneur programs.”
The induction ceremony will bestow the 101st, 102nd, 103rd and 104th stars on the Music City Walk of Fame. Inductees are recognized for their significant work of preserving the musical heritage of Nashville and for contributing to the world through song.
“Darius, Don, and Duane have not only given us the gift of their music and inspired new generations of musicians, but they have also given back generously over their career to important causes that matter to all of us” said Cesar Gueikian, President and CEO of Gibson Brands. “Joe has broken boundaries all throughout his career, developed some of the most iconic Country artists of all time, and is a driving force in our community. All of us at Gibson are proud to join Music City Walk of Fame in honoring Darius, Don, Duane and Joe.”
Professional wrestler Ric Flair will be in attendance to induct Rucker. Connie Valens, the sister of the late Ritchie Valens whose death was immortalized in “American Pie,” will present McLean. GRAMMY Award-winner and Music City Walk of Fame member Steve Wariner will induct Eddy. Vince Gill, 22-time Grammy Award winner and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Music City Walk of Fame, will induct Galante.
Rucker was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the two-time GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, before releasing his first Country album in 2008. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2012, and in 2014 he won his third GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his version of “Wagon Wheel.” Rucker’s new single, “Fires Don’t Start Themselves” is available everywhere now as a preview of his forthcoming album set for October 6 release, Carolyn’s Boy.
McLean is the singer-songwriter behind “American Pie,” the iconic smash hit that was released in 1971 and for almost 50 years held the record as the longest song to reach Number One. Eddy is a rock and roll guitarist who since the late 1950s has been known for his twangy sounds. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame. Galante is a Music Row institution, who headed up RCA Records and Sony Music over the course of a nearly 50-year career. He worked with a who’s who of luminaries, from Alabama to Dolly Parton to Alan Jackson.
The Music City Walk of Fame was created in 2006 on Nashville’s Music Mile, a roughly one-mile stretch that connects downtown to Music Row. Permanent sidewalk medallions with the names of inductees are displayed in a star design.
The Music City Walk of Fame is an official project of Music City Inc., the charitable foundation of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp and is produced with the support of founding sponsor Gibson. Additional sponsors include the City of Nashville and Metro Parks and Recreation. Nominations are open to the public and are accepted in the categories of Artist, Musician, Songwriter and Producer/Music Industry Executive. Application forms are reviewed by the Music City Walk of Fame anonymous selection committee. For more information about the Music City Walk of Fame, go to visitmusiccity.com/walkoffame.
Dune Eddy’s use of dramatic single-note melodies on the lower strings of his guitar, pronounced tremolo and vibrato, and liberal doses of echo produced a signature sound. He became the most successful instrumentalist in rock history, charting 15 Top 40 singles from 1958 through 1963 and selling more than 100 million records worldwide. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994; received Guitar Player magazine’s “Legend” award in 2004; was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2008; and received The Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist from The Americana Music Association in 2013. The guitar hero began playing at age five, emulating his cowboy hero Gene Autry. His 1958 debut album Have ‘Twangy’ Guitar, Will Travel was a Rock ‘n’ Roll milestone. It charted for 82 weeks, contained six instrumental hits and was the start of a trend in which Eddy’s album titles often punned on the word twang, such as The Twang’s the Thang (1960), Twistin’ ‘n’ Twangin’ (1962) and Twangin’ Up a Storm! (1963). His many hits bore evocative titles such as “Rebel Rouser,” “Forty Miles of Bad Road,” “Cannonball,” “The Lonely One,” “Shazam” and “Some Kinda Earthquake.” The singles started in 1958 with “Moovin’ and Groovin,’” and all were filled with rousing rebel yells and brilliant sax breaks. He recorded a collection of instrumental Bob Dylan songs in 1965; produced albums for Phil Everly and Waylon Jennings in the 1970s; and had a 1977 hit country single “You Are My Sunshine” featuring Jennings and Willie Nelson. rockhall.com/inductees/duane-eddy
During Joe Galante’s esteemed 50 years in Nashville’s music business, his influence and expertise have had a lasting impact. He led record labels including RCA, BMG/Nashville, Sony BMG and Sony Nashville and worked with a talented roster of artists, such as Alabama, Clint Black, Brooks & Dunn, Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Waylon Jennings, The Judds, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Ronnie Milsap, Lorrie Morgan, K.T. Oslin, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Sylvia, Carrie Underwood, Keith Whitley, Gretchen Wilson and Chris Young. He started his career in New York as a budget analyst with RCA Records before moving to Nashville, where he was mentored by RCA giants Jerry Bradley and Chet Atkins and took the helm at RCA Nashville at age 32, the youngest person to ever lead a major label’s Nashville division. Under his leadership, RCA became Country’s top label in 1982 and held that spot for 11 years. Among his many achievements, he helped steer RCA’s late-1970s and early 1980s crossover successes with such artists as Waylon Jennings, Ronnie Milsap, Sylvia and Dolly Parton. He shepherded the multi-Platinum ascendance of Alabama using a pop marketing model. During a tenure in New York as President of RCA Record Label, he signed the Dave Matthews Band, SWV and Wu-Tang Clan. Under his leadership in 2004, BMG/Nashville became the first label group of the SoundScan era to place three Country albums — Jimmy Buffett’s License to Chill (RCA/Mailboat), Kenny Chesney’s When the Sun Goes Down (BNA Records) and Alan Jackson’s What I Do (Arista Nashville) atop the Billboard 200 chart in a calendar year. He has been a member of the Country Music Association Board of Directors since 1978 and the CMA Foundation Board of Directors since 2011, serving as chairman of both organizations. He was a founding member of Leadership Music, now in its 33rd year. He received the Bob Kingsley Living Legend Award from the Opry Trust Fund in 2015. In 2021, CMA honored him with the J. William Denny Award, to honor a lifetime of dedication to the CMA Board of Directors. Since leaving Sony Music Nashville in 2010, Galante has served as a mentor-in-residence for Nashville Entrepreneur Center where he founded Project Music, and as a consultant to BMG Music and Morris Higham Management. He has chaired the Music City Music Council, a group of leaders dedicated to further establish Nashville’s position as the global music capital. He established the Phran Galante Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, to honor his late wife who passed in September 2019. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2022. countrymusichalloffame.org/hall-of-fame/joe-galante
Don McLean is a GRAMMY Award honoree, a Songwriter Hall of Fame member, and a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. His smash hit “American Pie” resides in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry and was named a Top 5 song of the 20th Century by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA). A New York native, Don McLean is one of the most revered and respected songwriters in American history. After paying his dues in the New York club scene in the late 1960s, he went on to score mega-hits like “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” “Castles in the Air” and many more. His catalog of songs has been recorded by Madonna, Garth Brooks, Josh Groban, Drake, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and countless others. In 2015, McLean’s handwritten manuscript of the lyrics to “American Pie” was auctioned by Christies, selling for just over $1.2 Million. 2019 honored Don with a star on the Las Vegas Walkway of Stars and his song “And I Love You So” was the theme for Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding. Don landed a new recording contract with Time Life in 2020, with whom he released a catalog of recordings, as well as a new album Still Playin’ Favorites. In 2021, Don’s “American Pie” was featured in the Avengers’ Black Widow and the Tom Hanks movie Finch. McLean received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated the 50th anniversary of “American Pie,” and recorded a version of the song with a cappella group Home Free. In 2022, McLean received six Telly Awards for his collaboration with international heavyweight Tyson Fury, released “American Pie: A Fable” children’s book, and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. Now in 2023, the Telly award-winning documentary “The Day The Music Died” was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. In unexpected news, President Yoon of South Korea sang “American Pie” for an elated audience of White House guests in Washington D.C. donmclean.com
Darius Rucker first achieved multi-Platinum status in the music industry as lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, who have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide including their Double Diamond-certified (21x Platinum) debut Cracked Rear View, which remains among the top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time. Since releasing his first Country album in 2008, Rucker has earned a whole new legion of fans with four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart, including RIAA Platinum-certified Learn to Live and True Believers, plus 10 No. 1 singles at Country radio and 11 Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum certified hits. Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2012, and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his Diamond-certified (11x Platinum) version of “Wagon Wheel,” one of the top five best-selling Country songs of all time. He co-hosted the 54th annual CMA Awards in 2020 and topped the charts at Country radio once again with “Beers And Sunshine” in 2021. Rucker’s new single, “Fires Don’t Start Themselves” is available everywhere now as a preview of his forthcoming album set for Oct. 6 release, Carolyn’s Boy, as he performs the new music for fans this summer on his Starting Fires Tour. As a lifelong philanthropist, Rucker co-chaired the capital campaign that generated $150 million to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. and has raised over $3.6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through his annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament. In addition, Rucker has advocated for over 200 charitable causes supporting public education and junior golf programs in South Carolina through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation and serves as a National Chair for the National Museum of African American Music. Rucker is also an avid sports fan, with his Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics apparel line available at Fanatics.com, and he is part of the Music City Baseball investment group working to bring an MLB team to Tennessee, in addition to serving as a partner at the MGC Sports & Entertainment agency. dariusrucker.com
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp and Visit Music City
The mission of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp and Visit Music City is to maximize the economic contribution of the convention and tourism industry to the community by developing and marketing Nashville as a premier destination. Visit the NCVC’s website at www.visitmusiccity.com and follow us on social media @VisitMusicCity.