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Randy Travis Highlights 2016 CMA Awards Opening Number

A number of the biggest legends from country music history joined together in the opening number of the 2016 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 2), to celebrate 50 years of the awards show.

Vince Gill joined with Merle Haggard‘s son, Ben Haggard, to kick things off with “Mama Tried,” followed by Brad Paisley and Roy Clark, who paired up for the Buck Owens classic, “Tiger by the Tail.”

Carrie Underwood was next, belting out Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man,” and then Paisley returned to the spotlight with Charley Pride for “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.” Then Alabama were on hand to launch into “Mountain Music,” which had stars in the audience clapping and singing along.

Recent Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Daniels returned to the CMA stage this year for a scathing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” featuring his fleet-fingered fiddle runs, followed by Reba McEntire, in a red dress, singing “Fancy,” a song she’s covered before as a hit record.

Dwight Yoakam blazed through “Guitars, Cadillacs” next, and Clint Black — clad in black — offered up his career-making hit, “Killin’ Time.” Ricky Skaggs and Paisley teamed up for the nimble licks of “Country Boy,” and a beaming Alan Jackson asked the crowd, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox.”

But the highlight of the opening number was undoubtedly when Randy Travis joined Paisley and Underwood onstage, flanked by all of the stars as they collectively sang “Forever and Ever, Amen,” with Travis — in his first awards show performance since a massive stroke in 2013 — singing the last line by himself, to the roar of the crowd.

CMA Awards producers promised fans an opening number that would make history, and they certainly gave tham that and more on Wednesday night.

Watch: Randy Travis Sings:

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