Country music artistes like Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain and Lady Antebellum paid a musical tribute to country music legend Kenny Rogers, who died on March 20 at the age of 81.
The artistes came together on Sunday for ‘ACM Presents: Our Country’, a series of performances recorded from their homes as the world practices social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports etonline.com.
The event, hosted by Gayle King, aired in place of the ACM Awards, which were recently postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Every artiste on this programme tonight was a friend and a fan. And several of them asked if they could perform some of Kenny Rogers’ songs as a tribute to him,” King said, introducing the star-studded memorial that was the finale for the special.
The tribute began with a performance by Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker, who appeared via video chat, and sang Roger’s 1977 classic “Lucille”, and the iconic 1978 song “The gambler”.
Before the duet — which both stars sang separately from their own homes — Rucker admitted that Rogers was “the reason I’m sittin’ here”, and his inspiration for creating country music.
Luke Bryan then performed Roger’s 1979 single “Coward of the county” before sharing, “We love you Kenny. Thank you so much for all your musical contributions. I love you, buddy”.
Lionel Richie closed out the tribute with a reflection on their friendship, which began when Richie wrote Rogers’ famous 1980 hit “Lady”.
“What started out to be a great collaboration between two guys, Kenny Rogers and myself, ended up giving me a surprise. Not only did we have a hit record, but I found one of the greatest friends I ever had in my whole life,” Richie shared. “The loss of him is tremendous on my heart.”
“We lived so much life together, and tonight I want to celebrate his life. And I want to say to all of his fans: He enjoyed the ride,” Richie continued. “Let us celebrate his life, his legacy, and more importantly, the music. God bless you, Kenny. God bless your family. I love you very much.”
The tribute ended with flashback to a live performance featuring the two music icons, from the 2012 TV special ‘ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends – In Concert’, as they sang “Lady” together.
Rogers died on March 20 of natural causes, his family announced on his website and social media platforms.