Most country singers have to wait years and years before they're invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, if they ever get the nod at all. But when Brad Paisley was inducted into the Opry on Feb. 17, 2001, he was just 28 years old, and had only released one album.

Bill AndersonJeannie Seely and Little Jimmy Dickens surprised Paisley with an invitation to join the Opry live on stage on Dec. 16, 2000. That was just a year-and-a-half after Paisley released his debut album, Who Needs Pictures, which yielded four singles, including two No. 1 hits in "He Didn't Have to Be" and "We Danced." Paisley made his Opry debut in May of 1999, and by the time he was invited to join, he had already played the venerated stage 36 times.

Paisley paid tribute to childhood hero Buck Owens on the night he was inducted by wearing the yellow jacket Owens wore when he recorded his iconic 1966 live Carnegie Hall Concert album. Paisley performed his new single, "Two People Fell in Love," from his sophomore album, Part II, which was not yet released.

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The versatile singer-songwriter and guitarist received a glowing endorsement from George Jones, who wrote a letter that Steve Wariner read during Paisley's induction.

"I am counting on you to carry on the tradition, and make folks sit up and listen to what good country music should sound like," Jones wrote.

"Brad respects where we came from, the heritage," Wariner commented. "We are in good hands with this guy."

"I don't feel worthy but I hope to earn it," Paisley stated. "I'll spend my career making this place proud they did this."

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