Image Courtesy CMARobin Roberts‘ new ABC special, Countdown to the CMA Awards: 15 Songs That Changed Country Music, premieres Monday night featuring performances from Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Kacey Musgraves and Martina McBride. Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley also appear on the special giving their commentary on what makes these 15 songs so essential to the evolution of country music.
While the complete list is being kept under wraps until the show airs, we can tell you Alan Jackson‘s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” made the cut along with Kenny Rogers‘ classic, “The Gambler.”
Luke Bryan talks about that track on the special. He says, “I remember having an 8-track player in my room listening to the “The Gambler” as a kid. Kenny Rogers was just the man. Nobody was cooler. Nobody was smoother. Nobody had it figured out quite like Kenny Rogers did.”
Florida Georgia Line pays tribute to Garth Brooks‘ “Friends in Low Places” on the special.
The duo’s Brian Kelley says, “That’s a drinking, party, country music anthem. ‘Friends in Low Places.’ We haven’t really played many covers when we got going. We just kinda started writing our songs and playing them out. But if we ever had to throw a cover in, you bet it was ‘Friends in Low Places.'”
In compiling the list, Robin Roberts and her team consulted with country music insiders and today’s country stars on which songs should be included. Things got pretty heated as they decided on the final 15 songs.
Robin tells ABC News Radio, “It’s all open for debate. But what we do like is that we really know that it has really touched upon classic songs, contemporary songs and crossovers. So, it really has a little bit of something for everybody.”
Lady Antebellum sings the #15 song on ABC’s Countdown to the CMA Awards: 15 Songs That Changed Country Music, airing Monday night at 10 ET. The 48th Annual CMA Awards air live Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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