The Judds’ Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech: Full Transcript
The Judds became members of the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday (May 1). Wynonna Judd and her sister Ashley mixed jokes with tears during a moving 7-minute-long speech. Find the full transcript below.
Ashley Judd —speaking on behalf of her mother, the late Naomi Judd — began, and she thanked those responsible for inducting the Judds. She showed true appreciation on behalf of the duo for being a part of a Class of 2021 group that also included Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake. Just a minute into her remarks, she teared up as she thought of her mother and her love for her fans.
Naomi Judd died on Saturday (April 30) at age 76.
Wynonna Judd spoke second, cracking one or two jokes and recalling her final moments with her mother before relying on Psalm 23 to close her speech. Emotions swelled as she finished, with several members of the audience shouting words of encouragement as she recited the final stanza.
Ricky Skaggs formally inducted the Judds into the Country Music Hall of Fame. During his 9-minute speech, he shared memories of his relationship with the Judd family and hailed their talents.
Ashley Judd: Good evening. First, I'd like to congratulate tonight's other inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame and salute your excellence. Mr. Peter Drake and congratulations Ms. Rose (Drake's wife) and your son. And Eddie — Mom says Eddie would call and say, "Garth Brooks, remember this name." Click. "Alan Jackson, remember this name." Click. "Randy Travis, remember this name." (laughter)
And of course the great Ray Charles, so iconic and archetypal. Your gift has blessed the world. It's a pleasure to be in your midst and to be in your company and know that the Judds music is recognized with your legacy. So, congratulations.
(Holding back tears) My mama loved you so much and she appreciated your love for her. And I'm sorry that she couldn't hang on until today. Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart. And it was your affection for her that did keep her going in these last years. And please, come see Pop. Please do come see him. And while this is so much about the Judds as a duo, I want to take a moment to recognize my sister, a G.O.A.T. (To Wynonna, standing alongside the lectern) Do you know what that means? (laughter and cheers and Wynonna mouths "What?")
I don't think she knows I'm calling her the greatest of all time. She lives on a farm. She's being a little literal.
So if you can imagine for me what it's like to grow up with this voice around the house. First, picking out the Pink Panther (theme song) on piano when I'm almost still in diapers. But then listening to Hazel and Alice and her picking out those harmonies with mom. And then of course it was Joni Mitchell and perhaps the most bitter argument to this day we've ever had was whether the lyrics came this way or that way, and I was wrong. I was seven. (Wynonna turns to the audience and mouths "make a note of that" as she pretends to scribble on an imaginary notepad). And Bonnie Raitt and then the Maria Muldaur album. And Led Zeppelin — all the things to which you listened. And I just got to bask in this voice that was around the house. And I've always been so proud of the music and so proud of you, but perhaps never so much when you walked out on stage with Steven Tyler (laughter). Or with U2.
So I know that we're talking a lot about mom tonight, as we should be. (Begins to cry) Our beautiful mother. (Turns to Wynonna) And I want you to know you are also being inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight (applause). And newspapers don't get much right these days, but when the Los Angeles Times says you were Elvis-like, they got it right. And I love you and I'm proud of you. And mom is proud of you and she always was. And thank you all so much for this. It really means a lot to our family. Thank you (applause).
Wynonna Judd: Now you know why I sing (laughter). I didn't prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most (long pause, deep breath and exaggerated eye roll as the audience laughs). I'm going to make this fast because my heart's broken and I feel so blessed and it's a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed. Cactus Moser you are my king (applause). You are my king. The Jordan family is here. The Moser family is here. Weavers. Brent and Don and Tony Brown, you helped me get through so much. The songwriters. Paul Kennerley, "Young Love" is one of the greatest songs ever. And Don Schlitz — you all know that I'm all about the songs and the music. I could give a rip really about the rest because it comes and goes but the music — though my heart's broken I will continue to sing because that's what we do.
Yesterday, umm — This is the first time I've talked since saying goodbye to her at 2:20. I kissed her on the forehead and I walked away and this is the first place I've been so (takes a breath and clears throat). The last thing we did together as a family was her was Uncle Mark — and um, we all gathered around her an we said (reciting Psalm 23):
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil for thou art with me. The rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me in all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
(Wynonna blows a kiss and looks up. Mouths something and turns to hug Ashley.)
Ashley: Thank you very much (waves). Thank you. (Both women leave the stage).