Merle Haggard turned 77 on Sunday (April 6), and an arena full of people sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
The impromptu serenade came at the end of a tribute to the legendary singer and songwriter at the 49th Academy of Country Music Awards. What came before was pretty good too.
First, Garth Brooks introduced Haggard as the recipient of the academy’s Crystal Milestone Award, which is given to artists who have made “specific, remarkable achievements.” It was followed by a performance from two of Haggard’s spiritual successors: George Strait performed “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” and Miranda Lambert followed with “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down.”
After Haggard took the stage and gave a brief acceptance speech, the crowd joined in wishing him a happy birthday. Not a bad way to celebrate, right?