Here’s the full Merle Haggard segment from the 2014 ACM Awards. It features Garth Brooks, George Strait singing “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” Miranda Lambert singing “The Bottle Let Me Down,” the “Happy Birthday” serenade, and a few quick words from Merle.
The YouTube account that posted it, cmntexas, also has high-quality video of most of the show’s other performances and highlights, though it’s unclear how long any of this stuff will stay up.
Of course, it’d be nice if there were some official source for ACM video. To celebrate 50 years in 2015, how about the Academy makes its entire archive of past shows viewable online? That’d be a good way of celebrating the legacy and keeping it accessible and relevant to new generations. It may seem unlikely now, but I hope someday I’ll be able to sit down with some free bubble-ubb and rainbow stew at my internet-connected TV and experience all of ACM history anew.