We'll, it is hard to believe but the last month of the year is upon us. Here is to a Happy Holiday season to all. As I usually do at the start of a month, I want to take a look back at historical Opry events that took place during the month of December.
Several Grand Ole Opry members joined the cast of the Opry during this month:
>Randy Travis was inducted as an Opry member on December 20, 1986 (23 years).
>Jack Greene joined the Grand Ole Opry as an official member on December 23, 1967 (42 years). Of course Jack played on the Opry many times as a member of Ernest Tubb's band.
>The Gatlin Brothers became Opry members on December 25, 1976 (33 years).
Now looking back at Opry history, these important events took place:
>On December 26, 1925, The WSM Barn Dance started officially as a regularly scheduled program on Saturday nights on WSM radio.
>December 1927 (the date is lost to history), WSM program director George D. Hay, nicknamed the "Solemn Old Judge," proclaims, "For the past hour we have been listening to the music taken largely from the Grand Opera, but from now on we will present the Grand Ole Opry." The new name caught on and the show has been known by that title ever since.
>On December 30, 1944, western swing bandleader Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys played on the Opry. Because drums were not allowed on the Opry at that time, he hid his drummer behind a curtain. That was the only concession that he made as he said that if he appeared on the Opry it would be with his full band or not at all.
>December 8, 1945, Earl Scruggs made his debut as a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. This would complete the historic line-up for the band that would serve as the prototype for the bluegrass sound. The band included Bill Monroe on mandolin, Scruggs on banjo, Lester Flat on guitar, Chubby Wise on fiddle and Howard Watts on bass. Outside the Ryman Auditorium is a historical marker to signify the Ryman Auditorium as the birthplace of bluegrass music and recognizing this great line-up of musicians.
>On December 30, 1950, Lefty Frizzell made his Grand Ole Opry debut.
>December 1, 1954 saw the death of Fred Rose, songwriter and co-founder of Acuff-Rose, which was the largest publisher of country music.
>On December 3, 1957, Don Gibson recorded one of the biggest two-sided singles in country music history. The Opry member had "I Can't Stop Loving You" on side 1 and "Oh, Lonesome Me" on side 2.
>December 24, 1960 was the last "Prince Albert Show" broadcast on the NBC radio network.
>December 8, 1982, Marty Robbins passed away at the young age of 57. His funeral service several days later was one of the most attended services of a country music star in memory.
>In December 1989, Garth Brooks has his first number one record, "If Tomorrow Never Comes."
>On December 20, 1999, Hank Snow passed away at his home in Madison. He had been an Opry member for 49 years and was just within 2 weeks of celebrating his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. He had not appeared on the Opry for several years due to health issues. I highly recommend his book for any country music fan.
There you have some highlights for this month. Hope you enjoy.