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Willie, Stevie Ray Vaughan to be first inductees in ‘ACL’ Hall of Fame

Peter Blackstock

Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 31, 2014

Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble will become the first inductees into the new Austin City Limits Hall of Fame at an April 26 ceremony in the long-running television show’s original studio on the University of Texas campus.

Also being inducted are two non-musicians who played crucial roles in the development of “Austin City Limits”: Bill Arhos, who created the show, and the late Longhorns football coach Darrell Royal, who was an ardent supporter of the program in its early years.

Nelson, Arhos and Double Trouble members Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans will attend the induction. Performing in their honor will be Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mike Farris, Doyle Bramhall II and Lukas Nelson. Recently retired UT football coach Mack Brown also will participate in the induction ceremony. Admission to the event will be by invitation only.

They’ll return to KLRU’s Studio 6A, a still-operating space in UT’s Jesse H. Jones Communication Center that was the show’s home from its debut through 2010. Since 2011, episodes have been recorded at the new ACL Live theater downtown.

The ACL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will become an annual event, with new members added every year. The April 26 show will be taped, with portions to be included as part of a two-hour prime-time PBS special set to air in October in celebration of the show’s 40th season, which will commence this fall. That special will include segments from an all-star show still in the works to be held at ACL Live.

Nelson was the performer on the show’s pilot episode, which was taped on Oct. 17, 1974, and aired in 1975. He has appeared on the show more than any other artist, with over a dozen appearances when guest spots and collaborations are included. Vaughan & Double Trouble were featured on the show in 1984 and 1990 episodes, with Double Trouble also participating in a couple of retrospective salutes after Vaughan’s 1990 death in a helicopter crash.

“Austin City Limits has become a unique American institution, in both the worlds of popular music and television,” the show’s executive producer, Terry Lickona, said in a statement. “It has such a rich history and legacy that we decided it was time to celebrate and honor the artists and individuals who made it what it is today.”