Garth Brooks Sings Ray Charles at Country Hall of Fame Ceremony

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Ray Charles was the fourth artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during Sunday night’s (May 1) Medallion Ceremony. A trio of performers saluted the legend, including Garth Brooks.

In introducing Brooks, the HOF’s Kyle Young let the audience know that the singer soundchecks with his chosen selection, “Seven Spanish Angels.” So, Brooks didn’t need a teleprompter as he performed the 1984 hit, originally recorded as a duet with Willie Nelson.

After hugging Young and saluting the audience and band, the longtime Hall of Famer tore into the track.

The War and Treaty opened the three-song set with a cover of Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me” that brought the audience to its feet mid-song. Then Brooks delivered. He was followed by Bettye LaVette, who packed every ounce of herself into “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Ronnie Milsap officially inducted Charles, sharing stories of their close friendship and recalling how the late singer identified as a country singer and songwriter.

Eddie Bayers, Charles, Pete Drake and the Judds became the 143rd through 146th members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, representing the class of 2021, as the ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the group, only Bayers and Wynonna Judd are still living. Naomi Judd died one day before the ceremony.

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