Merle Haggard made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on October 17, 2015. He surprised the audience by showing up to sing a collection of songs in celebration of the Opry’s 90th anniversary. His set included a few of his earlier singles, but it also featured a song that, though never released on its own, was still one of his most memorable.
Haggard performed “Silver Wings,” a mournful, yet highly acclimated song in dark sunglasses and a top hat. Before the song ended, he broke out into a guitar solo and passed around the spotlight to each of the band members that accompanied him.
Watch the solo and memorable performance by clicking the video below.
Haggard had played the Grand Ole Opry many times before his passing on April 6, 2016. Though never officially inducted into the Opry, he had earned many other achievements throughout his career including Grammy wins, CMA’s Entertainer of the Year and an induction into the Kennedy Center Honors. Haggard was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994.
His son Ben said it best on a Facebook post he made the day of his father’s death. “He wasn’t just a country singer. He was the best country singer that ever lived.” It would be hard to argue with that statement.