Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October Opry Highlights

With the month of October upon us, I wanted to highlight historical moments that have taken place in Opry history during the month of October. Traditionally, October has been a busy month for the Opry, as October was formally known as Country Music Month. In addition, the Opry has held their annual birthday celebration during the month. And, with the CMA awards being held in October for a number of years, it was traditionally the month that new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame were announced. Let's take a look back:

Several Grand Ole Opry members celebrate Opry anniversaries during the month:
>October 1, 2005: Dierks Bentley(4 years)
>October 6,1990: Garth Brooks(19 years)
>October 25, 2003: Del McCoury(9 years)
>October 27, 2007: Josh Turner(2 years)

Looking at Grand Ole Opry history, the following historical events took place in October:
>October 5, 1925, The National Life & Insurance Company opens Nashville radio station WSM, broadcasting at 1,000 watts.
>October 1932, WSM radio increases its power to 50,000 watts on a clear channel frequency. This power was crucial to the Opry's future success.
>October 1934, the Opry rents the 800-seat Hillsboro Theater and begins broadcasting its shows from that location. The show's platooning system begins here, as the performers play two 15-minute segments in front of separate audiences.
>October 14, 1939, the NBC radio network begins carrying a half-hour Opry segment, hosted by Roy Acuff and sponsored by Prince Albert Tabacco. The show attracts mostly regional affiliates. In 1943, NBC extended its Opry network to 143 stations.
>October 28, 1939, Bill Monroe becomes a member of the Opry and performs "Muleskinner Blues." George D. Hay is so taken with Monroe's performance that he declares that if Monroe ever wants to leave the Opry, he'll have to fire himself.
>October 2, 1954, Elvis Presley makes his one and only Opry appearance. He sings Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Presley was nervous singing the song in a much faster tempo than what Bill Monroe recorded, but Monroe reportedly told Elvis that if it helped his career, it was fine with him. Later, after Presley's huge success with the faster version of the song, Monroe would re-record it at the faster 4/4 version instead of the waltz, and that was the way he performed the song for the rest of his career.
>October 1955, Jim Reeves joined the Opry.
>October 1959, Jan Howard makes her first Opry appearance.
>October 15, 1960, Loretta Lynn makes her Grand Ole Opry debut.
>October 27, 1962, Sonny James becomes an Opry member.
>October 14, 1966, Del Reeves joins the Grand Ole Opry.
>October 1970, Bill Monroe was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 1973, Patsy Cline elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 1975, Minnie Pearl elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 1976, Kitty Wells elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 1978, Grandpa Jones elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 1979, Hank Snow elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 1982, Marty Robbins elected to the Hall of Fame.
>October 1983, Jimmy Dickens elected to the Hall of Fame.
>October 1985, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 1987, Rod Brasfield elected to the Hall of Fame
>October 1988, Loretta Lynn elected to the Hall of Fame.
>October 14, 1989, Holly Dunn joined the Opry. She would remain a member until giving up the music business and moving to New Mexico to become an artist.
>October 6, 1990, Garth Brooks becomes an Opry member. He was introduced first on the Opry by Johnny Russell, and he insisted that Johnny be the one to formally induct him into the Opry. On a side note, this was the night of Alan Jackson's first appearance on the Opry. He would later become a member. While not on the Opry very often, Garth still calls his Opry membership the most important achievement of his career.
>October 19, 1991, Grand Ole Opry announcer Grant Turner died after his last show. He became the Opry's announcer in 1944 and from then until his death was considered the voice of the Opry. He previously had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1981.
>October 1992, George Jones elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>October 23, 1992, Roy Acuff makes his final Opry appearance. This was on a Friday night and he performed his segment sitting in a director's chair. The previous Saturday night was his last Saturday Opry show. He would die one month later.

As always, I hope you enjoy our little look back at Opry history.

1 comment:

  1. Great job as always! I also remember that the night after Grant Turner died, George Hamilton IV happened to be on the televised portion, I believe with John D. Loudermilk. They hadn't planned this, but IV thought it was appropriate: in honor of the town in which The Dean of Opry Announcers was born, they did "Abilene."