When Beyoncé announced her country project, Act II, in mid-February 2024, it wasn't her first rodeo with the genre.

That's right: The Houston, Texas, native has some pretty significant history with country music. She included a country song called "Daddy Lessons" on the track list of her 2016 Lemonade album, and that same year, the pop/R&B monolith made a surprise appearance at the CMA Awards to perform "Daddy Lessons" as a duet with her fellow Texans, the Chicks.

Leading up to the 2016 CMA Awards show, plenty of fans had correctly guessed Beyoncé's involvement — plus, the song she intended to perform, and with whom — before ABC officially made their 11th-hour announcement that she'd be taking the stage.

Megawatt moments and jaw-dropping surprise collaborations were part of the package for the CMAs, especially that year. The show was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, for one thing. Also, just one year earlier, Chris Stapleton's breakout performance with Justin Timberlake had occurred on the CMAs stage, producing one of the all-time most-talked-about CMA moments of the decade and essentially launching Stapleton's mainstream country career. Expectations were high for the 2016 CMAs, and Beyoncé delivered.

Still, the performance didn't come without its fair share of controversy. After the fact, Kenny Chesney had to issue a press release to set the record straight with some fans who didn't like Beyoncé's appearance at the show — and read into his body language and facial expression on the telecast to assume he agreed with them.

"I love Beyoncé," he clarified in that statement, adding that his serious facial expression as he watched from the audience was simply a result of how engrossed he was in the performance.

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Several members of the audience also had their eyes trained on country's biggest stars, seeing how they reacted to Beyoncé's time onstage. After the show, an unnamed manager alleged to Billboard that he saw Alan Jackson, who was seated in the front row, stand up and walk out in the middle of Beyoncé's performance.

"I think that spoke volumes for the traditional, real country acts," the source said.

Not long after the CMAs, the Chicks' frontwoman Natalie Maines appeared on The Howard Stern Show, where she brushed off comments from "racist a--holes" who complained that Beyoncé wasn't "country enough" to warrant a place on the awards show lineup. In the same interview, though, she spoke glowingly of her band's experience working with the pop superstar.

"The week we worked with Beyoncé is the single greatest working week of my professional life," Maines raved. "It was awesome. To watch her world. To see how she does stuff. She's a perfectionist. And to see the power she has as a female and a Black female is incredible."

In 2024, after she announced her upcoming country album, Beyoncé immediately dropped two country tracks: "16 Carriages" and "Texas Hold 'Em," the latter of which is being serviced as an official single to country radio.

See the Most Played Country Song from the Year You Were Born

Who had the most played country song during the year you were born? This list is a fascinating time capsule of prevalent trends from every decade in American history. Scroll through to find your birth year and then click to listen. Some of these songs have been lost through the years, many of them for good reason!

Men named Hank dominated early before stars like Freddie Hart, Ronnie Milsap, Willie Nelson Clint Black took over to close the 1980s. More recently it's been Tim Mcgraw, Rodney Atkins, Kane Brown and Morgan Wallen. Did the most-played country song from the year you were born become a favorite of yours later? All info comes from Billboard's country airplay charts.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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