Chart-topping boy band Backstreet Boys and country stars Montgomery Gentry probably would not share a stage or a hall of fame anywhere except Kentucky.
Kentucky-born Backstreet members Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson and the duo of Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry are all part of the 2015 class of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and will be inducted Friday at Lexington Center along with Larry Cordle, Doc Hopkins, Pete Stamper, The Moonglows and country artist manager Clarence Spalding. In the Renfro Valley-based hall and museum, they will join a diverse lineup of Bluegrass State musicians who include Loretta Lynn, Rosemary Clooney, the Everly Brothers, Lionel Hampton, Florence Henderson and Steven Curtis Chapman.
It will be a big celebration, with many of the inductees set to perform. But there will be a bit of a cloud hanging over the proceedings.
The show is going on despite an abrupt change of leadership.
The hall of fame fired executive director Robert Lawson in February. He was later arrested and accused of stealing from the hall and other Rockcastle County organizations.
A statement released by Roy Martin, chairman of the hall of fame board of directors, said, "The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame has terminated Robert Lawson as its executive director as of February 9, 2015. As part of its ongoing oversight, the board of directors detected several questionable financial transactions. Thankfully, we believe that the problem was detected quickly, before any more significant damage was done."
The statement also said the hall shared its findings with the county attorney and Kentucky State Police and was cooperating with their investigations.
Lawson's firing, however, will not derail the induction ceremony, a once-every-two-years event.
Here is a look at the 2015 class of inductees.
Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson: Cousins born and raised in Lexington, Littrell and Richardson remain the Kentucky connection in one of the most commercially successful pop vocal groups of the 1990s, Backstreet Boys. Richardson was absent from the group from 2006 to 2012 but has rejoined the group. Backstreet Boys remain active, with recording projects — the latest album was 2013's In a World Like This — and international touring. This year, the group released a documentary about the band, Show 'Em What You're Made Of.
Montgomery Gentry: After working for years locally in the band of John Michael Montgomery and on their own, Eddie Montgomery (John Michael's older brother) and Troy Gentry established their own Southern rock-leaning country music career as a duo at the close of the 1990s. Since the 1999 release of its debut album, Tattoos & Scars, Montgomery Gentry has chalked up numerous No. 1 country hits, including its signature song, My Town. The duo's latest single, Folks Like Us, was released in March, and a new album is on its way.
Clarence Spalding: During the early 1980s, Spalding was one of the managerial voices behind one of the most popular music clubs in Lexington, Breeding's. But what sends him to the hall of fame is what he has accomplished since then. Over the past three decades, he has become one of the most respected managers in the country music industry with a client list that includes Jason Aldean and Brooks & Dunn.
Doc Hopkins: A native of Harlan County, Hopkins was introduced to banjo and steel guitar at an early age before a fascination with traveling medicine show acts hit after his family relocated to Rockcastle County nearly a century ago. During the 1940s, he was a regular on National Barn Dance on WLS radio in Chicago and was rediscovered by a new folk generation taken with traditional and old-time music in the 1960s. Hopkins died in 1988.
Larry Cordle: Born in Lawrence County, Cordle was the songwriter behind several country hits for fellow Kentuckian Ricky Skaggs, most notably Highway 40 Blues. But he also has penned tunes that wound up on records by Garth Brooks, George Strait, Lynn and others. Cordle's anthem of Nashville commercialization, Murder on Music Row, was named Song of the Year by the Country Music Association in 2000.
The Moonglows: A pre- eminent pop vocal force during the 1950s thanks to the now-classic hits Ten Commandments of Love and Sincerely, the Moonglows cut much of their music after establishing a home base in Cleveland. The Kentucky connection comes from founding members Harvey Fuqua and Bobby Lester, who began singing together in Louisville as a duo around 1949. Lester died in 1980, Fuqua in 2010.
Pete Stamper: A veritable country music entrepreneur, the Dawson Springs native joined Red Foley's Ozark Jubilee in the 1950s, had a rockabilly hit (Cheva-Kiser-Old-Mo-Laca-Stud-War-Linco-Baker) in the 1960s and served as Dolly Parton's road manager in the 1970s. But he is best known regionally as a performer and comedian at Renfro Valley with an affiliation that began in 1950. Stamper is also a veteran broadcaster.
■ In addition to the inductees, the duo Halfway to Hazard will receive a humanitarian award for raising more than $1 million for Eastern Kentucky concerns, and retired WKYT executive Tom Bennett will receive the Danny R. Ford Distinguished Service Award for his work on behalf of the museum.