he country music community was rocked today with the tragic news of the sudden passing of country music giant Naomi Judd.
Hailing from the Appalachian foothills of Ashland, Ky., mother and daughter duo, The Judds, were first discovered by RCA label head Joe Galante in 1983 after landing a spot on WSM-TV’s The Ralph Emery Show.
They made their chart debut by the end of the year with “Had A Dream (For The Heart),” and the two were on their way to becoming one of the best-selling duos of all time.
For the rest of the 1980s, each single from The Judds released by RCA went to the Billboard Top 10, with 14 hits going all the way to number one. The Judds swept the CMA’s Vocal Group/Duo category from 1985 to 1991 and garnered six GRAMMY® Awards.
The Judds embarked on their ‘Farewell Tour’ in 1991 after Naomi’s diagnosis of Hepatitis C forced her to retire from the road. Naomi focused on her health, beating the disease, and wrote several New York Times best-selling books. The duo reunited briefly in the 2000s and again to honor Kenny Rogers in the fall of 2017. They were set to regroup this year for ‘The Final Tour’ to play a number of concerts in North America.
Recently, Judd was promoting her new memoir River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope. The Judds were also scheduled to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Judd’s friends and colleagues share fond memories of the country music trailblazer:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and fellow Kentuckian, Naomi Judd. Naomi was always so special to be with. She accomplished so much and she will be missed and loved forever. My prayers go out to Naomi and her family.” – Crystal Gayle
“We just heard the devastating news that Naomi Judd has gone home. The Judds are being inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow. This is so very sad. We have been friends for decades and have worked hundreds of shows together. Our prayers for WY and Ashley and for all that loved her… which includes the four of us!” – The Oak Ridge Boys
“Such a sad day in country music with the loss of Naomi Judd. Her family is in my prayers.” – Johnny Lee
“Sunday was slated to be a day of celebration with the medallion ceremony for the Judds being officially welcomed into the Country Music Hall of Fame…But sadly, the Country Music Community and millions of fans around the world are mourning the loss of Naomi Judd, the matriarch of the country music duo the Judds. Our condolences go out to Wynonna, Ashley & Naomi’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland.” – Dallas Wayne, Singer/Songwriter, and SiriusXM ‘Willie’s Roadhouse’ Host
“I have so many memories with Naomi Judd – from our early years on stage around the country, awards shows to recent neighborly encounters at church or around our town of Franklin. I am speechless and so sad! My prayers go out to Wynonna, Ashley, and the rest of her family. God bless you and comfort you all.” – Lee Greenwood
“So heartbroken to hear of the passing of the one and only Naomi Judd. A true living legend of country music sadly will be missed. Rest In Peace Naomi Judd. Prayers for the family.” – Shane Owens
“The first time I ever met Naomi, I was 14 years old and we were performing on the Ralph Emery Show. Ralph lovingly called them the “Soap Sisters” since Naomi made her own lye soap. She was so sweet and kind and remained so every time I was ever with her through the years. She wrote me the most precious note recently about my commercial and how much she loved my music. I will cherish it forever. I’m so deeply saddened by this loss. We were so looking forward to The Judds’ induction into the CMA Hall of Fame. The music business will never be the same. Please join us in prayer for her family’s comfort during this time.” – Kelly Lang
“It’s a sad day to hear about Naomi Judd, her creative and clever creation of The Judds image made a huge impact in country music. She will be missed greatly.“ – Janie Fricke
“So sorry to hear of the loss of a great lady in country music. Naomi was not only an amazing singer/songwriter but an author, actress, and philanthropist. She will be greatly missed. Country music is better off because she was part of it… Godspeed Naomi! – Heath Wright / Ricochet
“Another great musical voice – Naomi Judd – has gone silent and left for home. I will never forget introducing her along with Wynonna on their very first network tv show appearance. I knew after introducing them that they were destined for greatness. My prayers are with her family, friends, and fans at this very sad time.” – TG Sheppard
“Half of one country music’s all-time favorite duos has left us. Prayers to Wy and family.” – Joey Canyon
“The Judds were the superstars of their time, and I knew them from the beginning when I played piano for Naomi and Wynonna on the “Ralph Emery Morning Show.” Back then Ralph called them The Soap Sisters because Naomi made homemade lye soap and brought it to the show as gifts for us all. I knew from the beginning they were destined for greatness. I am in shock to hear of Naomi’s passing on the eve of their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame–the moment when their greatness would forever be acknowledged in the history books. To me, The Judds were always a closing act. I’m just so sorry that Naomi made the decision to bring the curtain down early. My prayers go out to her family, friends, and fans.” – Tim Atwood
“Naomi Judd was a dear friend and awesome talent. She was always so sweet and kind to me. I knew her well and did dozens of shows with The Judds. They have touched millions with their music. Sheila and my hearts are broken. Please pray for the Judd Family, fans, and friends. Rest in peace, sweet sister. I love you!” – T. Graham Brown
“Sad to hear the passing of Naomi Judd. Have a huge amount of respect for her work in country music and sending my condolences to her family and friends.” – Ian Flanigan
“I am at a loss for words hearing about the passing of Naomi Judd…. She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice. ‘Grandpa’ is and always will be my favorite song by the Judds. Everyone, please keep her family and close friends in your prayers during this time.” – Makenzie Phipps
“Naomi was a lovely person and this is a tragic loss. Our profound sympathy goes to Wynona and Ashley.” – Lacy J. Dalton
“I am saddened to hear of the loss of fellow Kentuckian and legend Naomi Judd. Their music traces back to my childhood when mom would sing their songs to us. Their sound was iconic and I remember so many of their hits. Naomi will forever be remembered. Prayers to Wy and Ashley + family.” – JD Shelburne