George Strait and Garth Brooks, arguably the most influential male country singers of the last 30 years, will perform together for the first time in a tribute to the late Dick Clark at next month's Academy of Country Music Awards.
The ACMs and dick clark productions announced the pairing on Wednesday. The event will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 7 on CBS.
Brooks and Strait are the last two recipients of the ACM Artist of the Decade Award, which has been renamed ACM Dick Clark Artist of the Decade Award to honor the TV icon, who began producing the show in 1979.
"Dick helped make country music accessible to a larger fan base and his efforts will not be forgotten," said Strait. "Garth and I were so grateful when we each received the ACM Artist of the Decade Award, so it’s only fitting that we’ll be honoring him with this tribute performance at the ACMs."
Brooks called adding Clark's name to the Artist of the Decade award a fitting tribute. Clark died on April 18 at age 82.
"There may be others who have contributed as much to the music industry, but there is definitely no one that has contributed more than Dick Clark," he said. "He was music’s best friend, and a dear friend to me."
“It is truly appropriate that we pay tribute to my father, longtime ACM Awards executive producer Dick Clark. As one of the current executive producers and Dick’s son, I’m honored that George and Garth graciously accepted my personal request to pay tribute to a man we all loved,” stated R.A. Clark.
“He was a friend to all of us and helped shape our organization. There’s no doubt the Academy of Country Music wouldn’t be one of the highest-rated and watched awards shows without Dick’s vision and commitment,” commented Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy of Country Music.
The duo's achievements on the Billboard charts are staggering. Strait has a record 44 No. 1's on Hot Country Songs, while Brooks' history on that chart includes 19 leaders. Brooks has crowned Top Country Albums 12 times, and eight of those sets also topped The Billboard 200. Strait has 24 No. 1 country albums, a total that includes five No. 1’s on The Billboard 200.
Brooks is also the top selling albums artist of the Nielsen SoundScan era, with 68.6 million sold in the U.S. Since 1991. Strait is the No. 6 seller in that same time span with 44 million (though his career greatly pre-dates the launch of SoundScan). They are also the Nos. 1 and 2 selling country albums artists in the SoundScan era.
Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will be hosting the ACMs, now in its 48th year. Announced performers include Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, the Band Perry, Luke Bryan and Kelly Clarkson.
Wade Jessen and Keith Caulfield contributed reporting.