Carrie Underwood was on hand at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Tuesday evening (Nov. 15) to invite Crystal Gayle to become the newest member of the country music institution.

Underwood joined Gayle onstage during her Opry set for a joint rendition of Gayle's signature hit, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue." Afterward, she turned to the country legend and said, "You are an inspiration to so many of us. You are important to country music, and you are important to the Opry, which is why I was asked tonight to ask you if you would like to join our Opry family officially."

Gayle accepted Underwood's invitation with a hug, saying, "I have always felt like I was a member of the family and this is just so special."

Gayle made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry nearly 50 years ago at the age of 16, singing the country classic "Ribbon of Darkness" on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium. She went on to a career that saw her score 20 No. 1 hits in the 1970s and '80s. She also became the first female artist in country music history to reach platinum sales with her 1977 album, We Must Believe in Magic. Gayle won the CMA award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1977 and 1978, and is also a three-time ACM Female Vocalist of the Year winner.

"For more than half of the Opry’s 91 years, Crystal Gayle has been lending her signature vocals to Opry shows and connecting with Opry audiences as well as with everyone backstage," Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher says in a press release. "She is family, and we are very excited that she’ll become an official Opry member early next year."

Gayle will be formally inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on Jan. 21, 2017 by her sister, country legend Loretta Lynn.

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