Milestones along the way
The list of awards earned by Sons of the Pioneers looks like a dream portfolio too incredible to be true ... but it is true. While any one of these awards could be considered a major career achievement, the band has amassed a collection of them few performers will ever match. The Pioneers have truly earned their title of “Legends Western Music.”
True West Magazine “Best of the West” (2015, 2016)
True West Magazine voted the Sons of the Pioneers the “Best of the West” in 2015 and 2016. True West is the world’s oldest continuously published Western American magazine, founded in 1953. It is dedicated to relating American Old West history back to the present day to show the role contemporary Western heritage plays in keeping the spirit of the Old West alive today.
Golden Boot Award (2003)
The Golden Boot Awards honor actors, actresses, and crew members who have made significant contributions to the genre of Western television and movies. The award is sponsored and presented by Motion Picture and Television Fund, a charity organization of the film and television industry. Foundation members of the Fund include Steven Spielberg, Kevin Spacey, Michael Douglas, Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. and other Hollywood celebrities.
In 2003, the Sons of the Pioneers received their Golden Boot Award at the 21st Annual Awards ceremony in Hollywood, California. Other recipients that year included Tommy Lee Jones and Kris Kristofferson. The Pioneers performed songs that were included in several John Ford western movies and that have appeared on The Roy Rogers television series on ABC.
Grammy Hall of Fame (1986, 2002)
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences of Los Angeles has honored the Sons of the Pioneers twice, choosing two of their signature songs for its Grammy Hall of Fame. First, in 1986 the Academy chose the Pioneers’ recording of “Cool Water;” then in 2002 the Academy added their recording of “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.”
Texas Trail of Fame (2001)
The Texas Trail of Fame is a non-profit dedicated to honoring individuals who have made a significant contribution to “our Western way of life and heritage.” In 2001 the foundation awarded the Sons of the Pioneers a star on their Walk of Fame in Fort Worth’s historic Stockyards District.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Director’s Award, Hall of Great Western Performers (1995)
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is America’s premier institution of Western history, art, and culture, that “preserves and interprets the evolving history and cultures of the American West for the education and enrichment of its diverse audiences of adults and children.” The museum doubly honored the Sons of the Pioneers in 1995: In addition to inducting the band into the Hall of Great Western Performers (joining the likes of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, James Arness and Tom Selleck), the Pioneers were presented with the Director’s Award “for outstanding contributions to Western music.”
International Western Music Association Hall of Fame (1989)
The Sons of the Pioneers are Professional Members of the Western Music Association and were inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame at the very first WMA Hall of Fame inductions in 1989.
Inducting the Pioneers as charter honorees, the WMA stated, “A living legend in their own time, the Sons of the Pioneers have become an American institution. Their unique harmonies and style have become a standard by which all others are measured. The Sons of the Pioneers are known the world over for their own special arrangements of the western song classics.”
Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame (1989)
Even though the Sons of the Pioneers are not technically a Western Swing band, the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame inducted the band in 1988 in recognition of their contribution across all styles of western music. The Hall of Fame’s first inductee was Bob Wills, leader of the legendary swing band, Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys, and other members include such artists as Hank Thompson, Laura Lee McBride, Floyd Tilman, Eldon Shamblin, Hoyle Nix, and Asleep at the Wheel.
CountRy Music Hall of Fame (1980)
The Country Music Association of Nashville, Tennessee, elected the Sons of the Pioneers into its revered Hall of Fame in 1980, calling them “America’s premier western singing group.” Out of thousands of country western performers over the years, only 133 individuals and groups (as of this writing) have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, which makes the Pioneers members of an elite group of country music immortals.
Smithsonian Institution “National Treasure” designation (1979)
In 1979 the Smithsonian’s Division of Performing Arts recognized the Sons of the Pioneers’ contribution to American music and culture by officially designating the band a “National Treasure.” The Institution invited the band to perform a concert at the Museum of National History’s Baird Auditorium and presented them with a plaque recognizing the designation.
Academy of Country Music (1967, 1977)
The Sons of the Pioneers have been nominated for ACM awards five times, and three times have walked away with top honors. The band was first awarded the Top Vocal Group award in 1967. Then in 1977 the band won the coveted Cliffie Stone “Pioneer Award,” created to recognize those people who have made unique contributions to country music. (Other recipients of this award include Alabama, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Tex Ritter, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Sr., and Bob Wills.) Finally, that same year, the Academy presented the Pioneers with the Band of the Year (Touring) award.
Hollywood Walk of Fame star (1976)
In 1976 the Hollywood California Chamber of Commerce chose to honor the Sons of the Pioneers with their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The pink terrazzo five-pointed star, rimmed with bronze and inlaid into charcoal marble, is located at 6845 Hollywood Boulevard. The Pioneers were chosen to acknowledge their celebrity status in the recording industry.