Friday, May 1, 2009

May Opry Notes

Taking a look at Opry history for the month of May:

There are several Grand Ole Opry members that are celebrating Opry anniversaries in the month of May:
Charley Pride became a member of the Grand Ole Opry of May 1, 1993
Carrie Underwood celebrates her 1st anniversary as an Opry member of May 10th
Steve Warnier joined the Opry on May 11, 1996
Ricky Skaggs joined the Opry on May 15, 1982
Congratulations to all 4 of these Grand Ole Opry members

Over the years, several Opry moments took place in the month of May:
>On May 1, 1954, Andy Griffith made his first Opry appearance. He would appear several more times through his life.
>On May 8, 1968, the Solemn Old Judge and Opry founder George D. Hay passed away in Virginia. He had left the Opry years before and was elected as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>On May 11, 1957, the Everly Brothers made their Opry debut. They joined the Opry during the period when rock and roll was putting a big hurt on the Opry and there was concerned that the Opry would even continue. Stories are told that on the nights that the Everly Brothers performed, that there would only be several hundred in the Opry house, but when it came time for the Everly Brothers to take the stage, hundreds of teenage fans would run into the Opry house to see their spot, but as soon as they did their songs, their fans would leave.
>On May 13, 1967, Merle Haggard made his first Opry appearance.
>On May 29, 1950, "Mother" Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters(June, Anita and Helen) joined the Grand Ole Opry. Over time, just Mother Maybelle remained an official, but unappreciated member, as she received less than desireable spots.


  1. Love the monthly roundup.

    I remember reading that one night, when the Everly Brothers were performing and getting huge applause, Ira Louvin was so upset, he threw his mandolin the length of the backstage area. And today, we would think of the Everly boys as stone country, wouldn't we?

    I know that the rest of the Carters still played the Opry into the 1960s. Mother Maybelle was a victim of one of the old problems at the Opry. I think it was Jean Shepard who once asked Hal Durham how she could host a segment and Durham said, become a man. To his credit, Durham started letting women host occasionally, mainly as part of a ladies night. But Mother Maybelle was present at the creation, so to speak, and should have been one of THE central figures at the Opry.

  2. You know Michael, it always seemed that the original Carter Family were really not appreciated by the historians and fans of country music. There was really no excuse that they were not part of the 1st class to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and in fact, it took several years and some harsh words by Johnny Cash before they finally did get elected in 1970. I know that on his tv show, Johnny made sure to always feature Maybelle and made it well known to the audience that they Carter Family was the 1st family of country music and that they were not even in the Hall of Fame. The book: Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?, by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg is an excellent book on the history of the Carter Family. And, I have been to the Carter Fold several times and the work that is being done there to preserve the old-time country music is outstanding. Marty Stuart is a big supporter and has been at the Fold several times and has helped provide financial support to renovate and rehabilitate A.P. Carter's home. I know that the Carters were not based in Nashville and until Maybelle moved with her daughters, they were never in Nashville. By that point, Maybelle was considered just another oldtimer in the history of country music and it took another generation of younger bluegrass orientated performers to bring her back to the status she deserved to the public. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band insisted to the record company that Mother Maybelle Carter receive not billing on the ground breaking album, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"