Garth Brooks Sings Merle Haggard His 77th 'Happy Birthday' at CMA

Image: Garth Brooks Sings Merle Haggard His 77th 'Happy Birthday' at CMA Garth Brooks, left, presents the Crystal Milestone Award to Merle Haggard, April 6, 2014, in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 06:08 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Country music legend Merle Haggard was serenaded with "Happy Birthday" – his 77th –  by chart-topper Garth Brooks as Haggard was presented with the Crystal Milestone Award at the at the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday.

The CMA show, which appeared on CBS, featured many of the top performers in the genre Sunday and Haggard's tribute proved to be one of the show stoppers.

"It's no news that Haggard has always been an outsider," Brooks said of the long-time country music star before leading a sing-along "Happy Birthday" song, according to Billboard. Haggard turned 77 on Sunday.

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Miranda Lambert and George Strait performed Haggard standards "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive" and "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" in his honor during the show, wrote Billboard, which noted that this year marked Haggard's 50th year in the entertainment business.

The awards show shared Brooks' presentation to Haggard on Instagram.

"Country music's been great to me all my life," Haggard said after receiving the award, according to Billboard. "Thanks for making this an eventful night. Good evening."

Before the awards, Haggard thanked all of his fans for birthday wishes on Twitter.

Ben Haggard, lead guitarist for his father's band, added his opinion on the awards' show.

Strait, another longtime country music veteran, was honored with the fan-generated entertainer of the year award, reported CBS News.

"Wow. I always said I had the best fans in the world and I heard this was a fan-voted thing, so I rest my case," Strait said, according to CBS, after he edged out beat Taylor Swift, Lambert, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton for the honor. "This is so amazing. This has been an amazing past 30 years."

"I Drive Your Truck," by Lee Brice, captured song of the year hones while The Band Perry was named the top vocal group of the year at Sunday's program.

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