2016 CMA Awards Celebrate 50 Years With Star-Studded Opening Medley
For weeks, the Country Music Association and ABC had been promising a legendary open to the 50th annual CMA Awards, and during the big event, some of the biggest names to ever grace country music took the stage -- though perhaps no one quite expected the medley to be as epic as it was.
The performance kicked off with legendary CMA Awards host Vince Gill playing a touching tribute to the late Merle Haggard, featuring Haggard's 1968 classic "Mama Tried," with Haggard's youngest song Ben on guitar. It was a powerful homage to an iconic singer who's left us, as was Brad Paisley and Roy Clark's performance of "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail" in honor of Buck Owens. Black and white images of Owens surrounded the performers before switching over to Carrie Underwood, in a stunning silver dress, performing Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man."
Throughout the entire medley, clips of the audience revealed country music stars who turned into giddy fans as they sang along to their favorite songs and got teary-eyed to see their heroes onstage. Paisley ended up being a mainstay on the stage during the performance, returning to perform Charley Pride's hit "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" with the man himself and introducing Charlie Daniels as the newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame before Daniels showed us all why he's one of the best fiddle players in the business with a rocking rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Dwight Yoakam later took the stage with Paisley as backing as well.
From Alabama's "Mountain Music" to Reba McEntire's "Fancy" to Ricky Skaggs' "Country Boy" to Alan Jackson's "Don't Rock the Jukebox," it was hard to keep up with all the memorable moments in the opening performance of the 2016 CMA Awards. Clint Black even brought "Killin' Time" back to life with Underwood and McEntire acting as the best backup singers ever!
But perhaps the most unforgettable moment of the night was when all those iconic performers came together to honor another new inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame: Randy Travis. As all those legends stood together singing "Forever and Ever, Amen," Travis stood in the center, taking it all in. Already, there wasn't a dry eye in the house, but when Travis took a deep breath and sang the last "amen" of the song ... well everybody just lost it.
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