Charlie Daniels spoke only for a few minutes during the party thrown in his honor on Tuesday night (Sept. 20) at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Despite his brevity, he was able to express his thanks for having a long career that led to an exhibit in his honor, named Million Mile Reflections.
That exhibit officially opens Friday, yet Daniels was able to gather dozens of his friends and business associates (some of whom have worked for him for more than 40 years) to the museum’s BMI Hall a few days early.
The occasion coincided with the 52nd wedding anniversary for Daniels and his wife, Hazel Daniels. David Corlew, who has managed Daniels’ career for 43 years, stood proudly in the back of the room. In addition to the invitation-only event, Daniels and his entourage spent time admiring the exhibit.
After remarks from Sr. Vice President of Museum Services Carolyn Tate, Daniels greeted the well-wishers with remarks he had written in advance. He will be formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.
“At the age of almost 80 years, God has chosen to bless me with yet another wonderful blessing,” he began. He said he considered himself lucky as “a chubby fiddle player who came to town with a dream and a $20 bill.”
Throughout his remarks, he spoke highly of Nashville, and said that when he arrived in 1967 with his wife and infant son, there was no question he was going to stay.
“As I often say, when I leave Tennessee, I wanna go to Heaven because there is no other place but there that I’d rather live,” he said.
He described the museum as a sanctuary from the politics of the music business and as a destination for country fans who want to get a glimpse into the life of the stars they admire.
“It’s a place where the past is respected and the future is excitedly anticipated,” he said. “Of all the other music capitals across the nation, Nashville stands alone as a city where the music is what truly brings us together. It’s the music that brought us here, the music that kept us here – and the music will live on long after we’ve all gone to our eternal awards.”
After recalling his heart’s desire to be part of Nashville’s music community, Daniels concluded, “Not only has that blessing been granted, not only did I get to share my music with the world, but thanks to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, I get to share my life. Thank you for coming. God bless Music City USA.”
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