Watch Jason Aldean and Friends Close 2017 CMT Artists of the Year With ‘I Won’t Back Down’
Jason Aldean, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban and Little Big Town performed Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" at the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony. Readers can press play above to watch the special moment.
Aldean and company took the stage at the end of the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, which took place Wednesday night (Oct. 18) in Nashville, and was broadcast live on CMT. Aldean, along with Stapleton and Urban, were among CMT's 2017 Artists of the Year honorees, while LBT were there to perform. Luke Bryan, another of the 2017 Artists of the Year honorees, introduced the performance, after lauding his friend Aldean.
For their performance of "I Won't Back Down," Aldean and Stapleton split singing duties on the song's first verse, while Urban took lead on the second verse. Aldean largely handled the choruses, with Stapleton, Urban and Little Big Town singing harmonies throughout; Urban and Stapleton also offered up a guitar solo near the end of the tune.
"I Won't Back Down" has become a rallying cry of sorts for Aldean in the weeks following the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting on Oct. 1. Aldean was onstage when the gunfire began, a few songs into his festival-closing set. He canceled three tour dates -- scheduled for Oct. 6, 7 and 8 -- following the shooting, but on Oct. 7, made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live, opening the show with "I Won't Back Down," both in recognition of the shooting and in honor of Petty, who died on Oct. 2.
CMT slightly altered the format of its 2017 Artists of the Year ceremony following the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, and in light of the devastating hurricanes that recently battered Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. Throughout the night, the evening's honorees -- which also included Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt -- and other members of the entertainment community offered heartfelt messages to the fans watching, and called for donations to help the victims of both the shooting and the hurricanes.
Jason Aldean's Best Live Shots
Unforgettable Chris Stapleton Moments