Charlie Daniels received country music’s highest honor Oct. 16, and his wife of 52 years, Hazel, was right by his side for the big night. That’s where she’s been ever since they tied the knot before a justice of the peace in Oklahoma back in 1964.
Rare Country caught up with Charlie and Hazel just before they walked into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony, where Charlie was inducted as one of the Hall’s newest members. Hazel couldn’t have been more proud of her husband.
She told us, “It’s an honor for me just to be married to him. He’s been a great husband, and he’s worked so hard to get here. He’s had a long road.”
Though he’s nearing his 80th birthday, Charlie still keeps up a busy touring schedule, and he played some shows in the days leading up to the induction. They just had a few hours to relax at home before getting ready for the big ceremony. Once he saw all the cameras on the red carpet inside the Hall of Fame, Charlie finally realized his big day had arrived.
Charlie said on the carpet, “Now, it’s starting to really dawn on me that in a few minutes, Brenda Lee is going to hang that medallion around my neck, and it’s going to be official.”
As you can see in the clip, Charlie and Brenda shared a big hug after she gave an emotional speech inducting him into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The two country legends have been friends for decades now, and Charlie even has a horse named “Brenda Lee” in her honor.
Trace Adkins delivered a commanding performance of Charlie’s signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and Jamey Johnson was on hand to sing “Long-Haired Country Boy.” Trisha Yearwood also honored Charlie with her take on Elvis Presley’s “It Hurts Me,” which was the first song Charlie wrote that was recorded by another artist.
We caught up with Trisha and her husband, Garth Brooks, on the carpet before the ceremony, too. Garth had nothing but high praise for Charlie saying, “He’s a joy. He’s what entertainment’s all about. And if you’re lucky enough to play onstage with him, which I have, good luck keeping up with him, man. It doesn’t matter what age he is, he’s going to bring it every night. I love him for that.”
Randy Travis and legendary producer and music publisher Fred Foster were also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as the Class of 2016.