Toby Keith was honored at the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony Thursday night, where the country singer was treated to a special salute from surprise guest Stephen Colbert.
Colbert donned a cowboy hat and denim to sing "Ain't As Good As I Once Was" in honor of Keith, who inspired him during the early days of The Colbert Report. Colbert recalled a story from Keith's first appearance on the Comedy Central show.
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"He was leaving out the stage door and I was going to the rewrite room. This was very early on in my show and he didn't know what he was in for, I guess," Colbert said. "He turned around to me and he said, 'Hey man, you do a great job -- whatever the f*** it is you do.'"
Keith wasn't the only one honored at the event, as Bobby Braddock, Willie Dixon, Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia, Cyndi Lauper, Linda Perry, Van Morrison, Lady Gaga, John LoFrumento and Nate Ruess were also recognized.
"It's the only award I ever wanted," Keith told ET at the event in New York City. "I was writing as a teenager and watching other people, mesmerized by the songs they were writing, and I would look and I would go, 'I can do better than that. I've got to be better than that.' And every level I knew I had to. I may not be the best singer. I may not be the best writer, but I am out working. I put an album out every year for 20 years. I didn't have these three-year breaks. You pile those numbers up and you look at them and it creates a hundred million spins. People start going, 'Oh! Your catalog is a monster.' It's just my dad instilled that work ethic in me. And the end of the day we are here today."