Watch Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson and More Tribute Merle Haggard at 2010 Kennedy Center Honors
In 2010, Merle Haggard was among the honorees at the 33rd annual Kennedy Center Honors, along with composer and lyricist Jerry Herman; dancer, choreographer and director Bill T. Jones; Paul McCartney and Oprah. During the ceremony, held on Dec. 5 in Washington, DC, and broadcast on Dec. 28, everyone from Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley to Vince Gill and Willie Nelson helped pay tribute to the country icon.
"His writing is not glamorous; it's just real. Hag tells it like it is. He is the ‘Poet of the Common Man,'" Gill said from stage. "Through words and music, he tells his life story, which is, in many ways, America’s story — a quest for the simple things: a decent job, self-respect, a place to call home. And the one common thread through all of it … is truth.”
Following Gill's introduction, Nelson narrated the biography of Haggard that preceded the performances, accompanied by photos and video clips from throughout the artist's life and career.
Lambert and Kris Kristofferson began the musical portion of Haggard's tribute by performing "Silver Wings;" they were followed by Gill and Paisley, who performed "Workin' Man Blues" and Nelson and Sheryl Crow, who sang "Today I Started Loving You Again," as Haggard looked on approvingly. Jamey Johnson and Kid Rock then accompanied Nelson on "Ramblin' Fever," joined at the end by all of the stars who had participated.
After the performances, Nelson received a standing ovation, which he acknowledged, simply, by removing his hat and offering a salute. Press play on the video above to watch all of Haggard's Kennedy Center Honors tribute.
"Well, it's the ultimate. You're hittin' around the right spot, it's great, and probably couldn't be topped," Haggard told Rolling Stone following his receipt of the Kennedy Center Honor. "And I enjoyed watching Vince Gill give Brad Paisley a lesson -- he took a course on "Workin' Man Blues." But Brad is so hot and so good."
Following a bout of pneumonia, Haggard died on April 6, 2016, his 79th birthday.
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