Legendary country singer Loretta Lynn made a surprise appearance at the Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony on Sunday night, her first since suffering a stroke in May. The singer, 85, appeared at the request of Alan Jackson, one of three inductees into this year’s hall of fame class. Hall tradition calls for a standing member to welcome a new inductee, and Lynn was Jackson’s choice.
“Now, this is the first time I’ve been out of the house, Alan,” Lynn said as she took the stage to a standing ovation, according to WIN 98.5. “You’re the only thing that would’ve brought me here. “I love you, honey, and I want to say congratulations, and I am so proud of you. I’m glad that you’re being — hey, you should be up here!” she laughed, calling him closer.
Lynn then recalled meeting Jackson early in his career and noted his nervousness at the time. She remembered telling him he would become one of the greatest singers in country music — “You haven’t let me down,” she said.
An exhibit dedicated to Lynn opened at the Hall in January.
Also inducted were singer-songwriters Jerry Reed (known for such hits as “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and Don Schlitz, who wrote many classic country songs, including Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”
The evening concluded in hall of fame tradition with the performers, led by Lynn, and the audience singing the Carter Family’s classic song “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”