Oklahoma’s musical legacy, from jazz and country to opera and rock, is being preserved, nurtured and celebrated, thanks to those Okies from Muskogee.
The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, from its beginnings in 1996, has honored more than 100 of the state’s most famous musicians, artists and songwriters who have shaped the international music scene.
No doubt energized by the 1969 mega-hit “Okie from Muskogee” by Merle Haggard, State Senator Benn Robinson and State Representative Barbara Staggs, both of Muskogee, co-authored in 1996 a concurrent resolution designating Muskogee as the site of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Another Muskogee representative, Bill Settle, secured legislative appropriations for the hall.
In 1997, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inducted its first class of headliners during a ceremony and concert in Muskogee. Haggard led the inaugural class that included Woody Guthrie, Patti Page and Claude Williams.
The hall has added to the honor roll every year since. The 2021 class honored Ann Bell, Tommy Collins, Jerry Lynn Williams and three of the founding members of the group The Call: Scott Musick, Steve Huddleston and Michael Been.
Since 2003, the hall of fame moved into its home in downtown Muskogee, the renovated Frisco Freight Depot. The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Museum in that facility houses a dazzling collection of memorabilia celebrating the careers of such members as Bob Wills, Leon Russell, Leona Mitchell, Hank Thompson, Kristin Chenoweth, Wanda Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Wayman Tisdale, Gene Autry, Roy Clark and more.
Oklahoma Music Legacy Preserved at the Hall of Fame in Muskogee on Greater Tulsa Reporter