When Merle Haggard appeared at the Grand Ole Opry on October 17, 2015, no one in the audience could have imagined that it would be the last time the legendary singer would stand on that famous stage.
In December 2015, Haggard was forced to cancel the rest of his scheduled shows for the month when he came down with a case of double pneumonia. Over the course of the next few months, Haggard tried to return to performing, but would only manage to get through a few shows before he'd have to take time off to recover.
On his 79th birthday on April 6, 2016, Haggard passed away due to complications from his pneumonia. In the days since then, the country community has chosen to honor his legacy by remembering some of his greatest performances.
Haggard's final Opry performance is one for the history books. One of the songs he performed that day was the mournful "Silver Wings," which he wrote himself. Although it was never released as a single, "Silver Wings" went on to become one of Haggard's most memorable songs, primarily because of it's emotional lyrics:
"'Don't leave me,' I cry
Don't take that airplane ride
But you locked me out of your mind
Left me standing here behind."
Haggard left it all on the stage for his final Opry appearance with his extraordinary vocal performance and skilled guitar work. At the end of the performance, Haggard turned to his youngest son and guitar player, Ben, and the smile on his face speaks for itself. It's clear that he had the absolute time of his life during his final appearance at the Opry.
Tune in below to watch Haggard sing "Silver Wings" on the Opry stage for the last time. As hard as you try, you'll find yourself unable to hold back your tears as you watch Haggard sing his emotional tune.
Our prayers continue to be with Haggard's family and loved ones during this difficult times.
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