NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Garth Brooks promised he’d be emotional during his Country Music Hall of Fame induction. But the tears started before he made it all the way into the building.

Reflecting on personal heroes George Strait, Bob Seger and James Taylor on hand to salute him Sunday night, Brooks teared up on the red carpet.

“I moved to this town for one reason, and that was to get ‘Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old’ cut by George Strait,” Brooks said before the ceremony. “That’s what George is singing tonight. It’s gonna be so cool. I’m a fan. So I get to be a fan tonight.”

Brooks was inducted along with trailblazing singer Connie Smith and keyboard player Hargus “Pig” Robbins, whose rolling signature sound has adorned countless hits across the radio dial.

It was a star-studded night. Strait, Seger and Taylor played for Brooks. Lee Ann Womack, the Quebe Sisters and The Whites saluted Smith. Merle Haggard gave her induction speech.

Ronnie Dunn serenaded Robbins with George Jones’ “White Lightning,” the first No. 1 hit Robbins played on in 1959, while simultaneously drinking moonshine from a Mason jar. Ronnie Milsap, who, like Robbins, is blind, joked, “Pig and I are driving home tonight,” before joining Robbins on “Behind Closed Doors.”

Robbins is one of the most widely recorded session players in Nashville history, although his reputation spread far beyond Music City’s borders. From Jones and most of his country contemporaries to rock pioneers such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young and J.J. Cale, he worked with some of music history’s most dynamic artists.

His sound also defines some of pop’s most memorable songs, of which Crystal Gayle reminded everyone by singing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

“If we listened to every hit record he played on, none of us would live long enough to make it to the end,” Charlie McCoy said in his induction speech for Robbins.

Robbins also played on Smith’s early recordings shortly after she arrived in Nashville.

Smith recounted before the show how she won a talent contest in Columbus, Ohio. Bill Anderson heard her sing, and less than a year later, on Nov. 28, 1964, her first hit, “Once a Day,” became the first debut single by a female country artist to reach No. 1. It sat atop the charts for eight weeks.

Craig’s up for ‘Dragon Tattoo’ sequel

LOS ANGELES – Hopes for “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” a potential follow-up to David Fincher’s English-language “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” slowed considerably after the first movie performed only decently at the box office.

But star Daniel Craig says he hasn’t given up on the possibility of a new installment — and in fact hopes to persuade the director to return.

“Of course I’ll embrace (the movie), especially if Fincher does it,” Craig told the Los Angeles Times, adding, “I’m definitely going to work on him.”

Fincher has been publicly noncommittal about returning to the franchise, which follows a Swedish-language art-house hit. The director has never made a sequel in his long career.

Andy Williams remembered by peers, fans

BRANSON, Mo. – Entertainer Andy Williams was remembered for his smooth voice, gleaming smile and warm heart during a memorial tribute at his Moon River Theatre in the southwest Missouri town of Branson.

More than a thousand people attended the memorial tribute Sunday for Williams, who died last month at age 84 after a battle with bladder cancer.

Williams was serenaded in absentia by a series of musical artists who got their start with him decades ago or had performed with him over the years — the Lennon Sisters, Osmond Brothers and Gatlin Brothers, among them. Entertainer Bob Newhart choked up with emotion as he joked of his friendship with Williams.

The tribute hosted by entertainer Peter Marshall started as an invitation-only event, but as word spread through Branson, fans were allowed in.

Williams’ signature song became “Moon River.” He also gained fame through a variety TV show and his Christmas specials.

“Christmas is never going to be the same to me,” Newhart said Sunday, his voice breaking up with emotion.

— From news service reports