GARTH BROOKS SALUTES KEITH WHITLEY DURING SPECIAL OPRY TRIBUTE
“I will say that I would never be close to living this life and getting the joy of music if not for Keith Whitley.” With those words, Garth Brooks took the stage to pay tribute to his musical hero during I Wonder Do You Think of Me: The Opry Remembers Keith Whitley on October 14.
Brooks joined fellow Opry members Lorrie Morgan, Ashley McBryde, Terri Clark, and Mark Wills, along with The Grascals and members of Whitley’s family, including Jesse Keith Whitley, in celebrating the life and musical legacy of the beloved Country Music Hall of Fame member. Whitley died suddenly in 1989, just three weeks before realizing his dream of officially joining the Grand Ole Opry.
Brooks presented Lorrie Morgan, son Jesse Keith, and daughter Morgan with a plaque commemorating Whitley’s impact on the Opry. It is a replica of the plaque recognizing each Opry member that hangs in the Opry House Member Gallery.
“Having his name there with the rest will elevate the Opry and guys like me who have their name there, too,” Brooks said.
Brooks also presented a framed photograph of Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan that will grace the “It Takes Two” dressing room at the Opry House, which celebrates iconic country duets.
Brooks performed Whitley’s hit “Ten Feet Away” before launching into “Two Pina Coladas” and “Friends in Low Places.” Before singing “The Dance,” he talked about including footage of Whitley in the song’s music video, proud that it was “the first time I got to associate my name with his.”
“I love country music, I love Keith Whitley, and I love the Grand Ole Opry!” he exclaimed before leaving the stage.