The 2016 CMAs teased that everyone who wanted to watch the show should absolutely not miss the first eight minutes, and by golly, they were right. It’s the 50th anniversary of the proceedings, and you only get one chance to celebrate a half-decade of music! Luckily, everyone who is anyone in country music was a part of the 2016 CMAs opening number, and it surely brought back some memories for longtime fans.
To list everyone involved would probably be more names than you’d want to read right now, but let’s take a walk on a short list — Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, Alabama, Brad Paisley, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire, Clint Black, Ricky Skaggs, Dwight Yoakam, and Randy Travis were all up on the CMAs stage, to name a few. Merle Haggard passed away in April 2016, but his son represented him by playing guitar on Haggard’s hit “Mama Tried.” Randy Travis was there, too, which was particularly poignant — he suffered a stroke and nearly died a few years ago, and he’s had a slow recovery — because the rest of the participants sang to him instead. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house at the Bridgestone Arena.
All in all, I think that the 2016 CMAs opening was the perfect way to pay homage to 50 years worth of Grand Ole Opry history. To move forward, you have to look back on where you’ve come from, and that’s exactly what the CMAs are doing — showcasing the songs and performers that made country music what it is, so when newer artists perform later, you can see the impact that the first batch of country greats had on the young(er) musicians of today. BRB — I have to go update my Spotify stat to include all of those timeless songs.