90 Years of Great Country Music!
The Grand Ole Opry represents 90 years of great country music! What began as a simple radio broadcast became a live entertainment phenomenon. Dedicated to honoring country music's rich history and dynamic present, the Opry showcases country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who've followed in their footsteps. An American icon and Nashville's No. 1 attraction, the Opry is known worldwide for one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences for all.
Yearly, hundreds of thousands of people travel across town or across the world to see the show live. Millions tune in to broadcasts via mobile app, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Nashville's 650 AM WSM, opry.com and wsmonline.com. From Philadelphia to Fiji, everyone knows the show that made country music famous. It all began November 28, 1925, when an announcer on WSM introduced fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on the new radio show The WSM Barn Dance. The show is still going strong, has launched countless country music careers, and has led the way for Nashville to become Music City.
Early performers Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe and others became musical foundations for the Opry at the historic Ryman Auditorium, later welcoming artists including Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Bill Anderson, who would become entertainment icons in their own right.
The Opry bid Ryman Auditorium farewell on March 15, 1974, leaving for the newly built Grand Ole Opry House. The next night, President Richard Nixon joined Acuff on stage. Traditions remained, with a six-foot hardwood circle from the Ryman placed center stage at the Opry House. The magic continues today, with Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis and Carrie Underwood among the Opry Family Stars.
Click here to read more of the Groups Today January/February 2016 digital edition.
Photo courtesy of Chris Hollo.