Music industry veteran Jim Ed Norman was honored with the Bob Kingsley Living Legend Award for his impact on country music during an event held Wednesday night (Feb. 24) at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
The honor was a well-kept surprise for Norman, who was recognized both as the leader of successful record companies and for his leadership in the industry. As president of Warner Bros. Nashville for more than two decades, Norman played a key role in the careers of Faith Hill, Blake Shelton, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, and Dwight Yoakam, among many others. He is now CEO of The Curb Group, overseeing the careers of Lee Brice, Wynonna, Natalie Grant and more.
The evening benefitted the Opry Trust Fund, which for 50 years has supported members of the country music community in need.
Among the artists who participated in the evening through performances, appearances and taped messages were Big & Rich, Lee Brice, Crystal Gayle, Mickey Gilley, Jeff Hanna, Don Henley, Gary Morris, Michael Martin Murphey, Pinkard & Bowden, Mo Pitney, Kenny Rogers, TG Sheppard and a special surprise appearance by Randy Travis.
The inaugural celebration honored Bob Kingsley in 2014. Due to the overwhelming response of that evening, the night’s beneficiary opted to make it an annual event wherein one individual would be honored on the stage of the Opry. The award, given to Joe Galante in 2015, recognizes the most deserving individuals across the country music industry, including record labels, radio, and media.
Norman moved to Nashville in 1983 to run A&R for Warner Bros. & Reprise Records. A year later, he became the label group’s president. He stayed with the label group through 2004. He is a founding member of Leadership Music; was President of Nashville’s W.O. Smith School; was instrumental in launching a music business program at the University of Hawaii in conjunction with the Curb School of Music Business at Belmont University; and is a Senior Fellow at The Curb Center at Vanderbilt University.
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