Barbara Mandrell returns to the Grand Ole Opry for the 50th anniversary and is honored by Carrie Underwood

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Barbara Mandrell has been retired for more than two decades, but she remains a vital member of the Grand Ole Opry 50 years later.

The Grammy winner celebrated her 50th anniversary of becoming a coveted community member, making a rare appearance on the site.

The country music singer was honored with a rendition of her standout song, “I Was Country Before Country Was Cool,” by eight-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood.

Underwood praised Mandrell, 73, saying, “She’s been such an inspiration to me and so many others who stand on the shoulders of great female artists like her.”

Barbara Mandrell, left, took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry after Carrie Underwood, right, sang her own version of

Barbara Mandrell, left, took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry after Carrie Underwood, right, sang her own version of Mandrell’s “I Was Country Before Country Was Cool.”
(Getty Pictures)

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Underwood shared a post after the event, saying how special it was to celebrate Mandrell and that she was honored to be included.

Mandrell shared her own message, thanking her fans, Underwood and several other female performers. She wrote: “Lord knows I love the Opry!”

Mandrell has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since his retirement in 1997, reserving all singing for church services.

She became a big star with “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters”, a variety show starring Mandrell, as well as her real-life sisters, Irlene and Louise.

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Dolly Parton, right, is pictured with the three Mandrell sisters.

Dolly Parton, right, is pictured with the three Mandrell sisters.
(Getty Pictures)

While Mandrell was born in Texas and raised in California, her strong Tennessee footprint remains a big part of her legacy.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report

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