Monday, November 29, 2010

The Grand Ole Opry

85 years ago yesterday the WSM Barn Dance aired on AM 650 in Nashville, Tennessee.  That may not sound very exciting, but on December 10, 1927, it was renamed The Grand Ole Opry.  Before doing a little research I had no idea that after an artist passes he or she is no longer a standing member of the Grand Ole Opry.  I assumed it was like a Who's Who or a Hall of Fame, but Nashville already has the Country Music Hall of Fame.  At one time they had to make 26 appearances a year and only got paid $44 which made being a member a hardship on some performers.  Things have changed since then.

Anybody that has been to Nashville knows that the Ryman Auditorium is the most famous former home of the Grand Ole Opry.  If you know that you probably also know that there is a circle of the stage, about 5 feet in diamater, that was taken from the Ryman and was installed on the current Grand Ole Opry House stage.  That circle, as well as the rest of the stage, was submerged under 46 inches of water during the May 2010 flood.  The circle had to be refurbished but was reinstalled on August 25, 2010 with help from Little Jimmy Dickens and Brad Paisley.

Speaking of Little Jimmy Dickens he is the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.  The Opry website says his mailbox is the only one out of alphabetical order at the Opry House to cater to his 4'11" stature. You probably saw him at the 2010 CMA's and if not check out the YouTube video.

Other members include, but are not limited to (in no particular order): Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Trace Adkins, Loretta Lynn, Blake Shelton, Vince Gill, Roy Clark, Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and many more.

Shows are still played at the Ryman and of course you can see a show at the Grand Ole Opry House too.  Click the links, take a visit to Music City and take in a show or two while you are there.

Got a Nashville or Opry story, or see something I overlooked/left out/got wrong?  Lemme know about any and all in the comments.

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Anonymous said...

Little Jim is NOT the "oldest" member of the Opry, not in the sense that you mean it. Jean Shepard is the longest tenured member of the Opry. Little Jim left in 1957 and then came back in about 1975. Jean became a member in 1955. Not bashing you, just letting you know.