In its 92nd year, the Grand Ole Opry has become a live music extravaganza, dedicated to honoring country music and its artists. Boasting of a rich history, Opry has a dynamic presence carried on by iconic country singers as well as the mainstream musicians who continue its legacy.
Called America’s “most famous stage”, the Grand Ole Opry started as a one-hour long radio broadcast in 1925. Radio station WSM’s announcer and broadcaster George D. Hay came up with an idea of “The WSM Barn Dance” show and invited Uncle Jimmy Thompson, a fiddle player, as his first performer. As Thompson performed live on radio, countless people heard him and the show became a huge hit. Along the way, Grand Ole Opry helped launched numerous country music artists careers and paved way for Nashville to become the Music City.
Today it has become the number one attraction in Nashville as hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country, even the world, come to attend its weekly live shows. For the most part of the year, from February till October, Grand Ole Opry House welcomes hordes of Grand Ole Opry tickets holders, while millions more tune in to the Opry radio broadcasts.
“From Philadelphia to Fiji, everyone knows the Grand Ole Opry is the show that made country music famous.”
Grand Ole Opry – Overview
Brainchild of the station manager George Dewey Hay, the Grand Ole Opry broke ground in 1925 as a weekly radio program. Featuring traditional country music including classic mountain tunes and folk songs, it became one of the most favorite radio shows. Symbolizing the best of what the country music offers, Grand Ole Opry brings generations under one roof through its one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences. Through the decades, legends like Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, and more recently Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley have graced this prestigious stage. Other notable performers who regularly grace this prestigious stage are The Osborne Brothers, Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, Little Big Town, Martina McBride and The Gatlin Brothers.
Grand Ole Opry Membership – For country musicians a Grand Ole Opry membership is akin to a Hall of Fame induction. While not everyone is granted a membership, there’s no one particular code of ethics or criteria that needs to be maintained to be Opry’s member. So, how it works?
For starters, an artist has to be nominated by the existing Grand Ole Opry members. The final decision however lies with the management who consider various aspects that make an artist a genuine country musician. Things like recorded music sales, commercial and critical success, radio airplay and touring achievements, all are taken into account. Potential for future achievements are also considered for Grand Ole Opry’s induction.
Opry’s membership also comes with a lot of commitment. The inductee needs to maintain a solid relationship with the fans and uphold a connection with country roots and its history. At present, more than 200 solo artists and bands have been honored with an induction. These include, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Stonewall Jackson, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood.
Guaranteeing further success of the Grand Ole Opry, all new members add a fresh chapter to this historic story. The cycle continues as the yesterday’s rising talents have now become legends and those who are aspiring for stardom today will become icons for the future generations.
Grand Ole Opry – More About the Live Entertainment Phenomenon
In its 92 years’ history, the Grand Ole Opry has had six resident venues. From 1943 till 1974, the Ryman Auditorium remained the designated venue for Opry performances. In 1971, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places list. 2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the 2,362-seat venue and in a grand ceremony Little Big Town was named its first artist-in-residence.
Since 1974, Grand Ole Opry House has been the home of Grand Ole Opry, becoming the longest venue to serve as its host. President Richard Nixon attended the first show in March, 1974 that featured “The King of Country Music”, Roy Acuff.
Before his death in 2015, Little Jimmy Dickens, aged 94, was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry. Countless fans attended his live shows at the venue where he crooned his hit numbers like “Hillybilly Fever” and “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose”.
Carrie Underwood had the honor of performing at the Opry only two weeks after winning the American Idol. Her debut performance in 2005 received an incredible response from the audience.
All country musicians and even those who don’t belong to the genre, consider it an essential institution in country music history. In words of Lee Brice, “Without the Opry, country music wouldn’t really exist,” he said. “The Opry is a staple. It’s the foundation”.
Grand Ole Opry Tour Tickets
The Grand Ole Opry is a country music institution. There are numerous country music festivals, radio shows and annual events, but there is only one Opry. Many consider it a time honored American tradition and the Nashville locals as well as the tourists are always on a lookout for Grand Ole Opry tour tickets.
Opry along with its legendary members have enjoyed numerous milestones. On September 22, 2017, “The Queen of Country Music”, Reba McEntire celebrated her 40 years at the Grand Ole Opry. What was later billed as a magical evening, McEntire’s performance was attend by another legend, Dolly Parton. Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood also sat among the audience and watched the legend croon “Does He Love You” and “Fancy”.
Grand Ole Opry’s latest schedule includes a stellar lineup as Chris Young, Dustin Lynch, Tracy Lawrence and Henry Cho are slated to perform in fall. Other performers who will be taking the grand stage this season include Dailey and Vincent, Bill Anderson, Mike Snider, Riders in the Sky and Connie Smith.
A visit to the Grand Ole Opry has to be on your must-do list – after all, it’s a huge part of American history, its heritage and a staple of country music.