Saturday, July 31, 2010

August Opry Highlights

The month of August is upon us and as I always do, I want to review the historical moments that have taken place in Grand Ole Opry history during the month.

During the month of a August, several Opry members joined the Opry:

Jimmy Dickens is credited with becoming an Opry member of August 1, 1948 (62 years), although the exact date that Jimmy joined seems to have been lost to history. At the age of 89, is is the oldest Opry member.

Jimmy C. Newman became an Opry member of August 1, 1956 (54 years).

Bobby & Sonny, the Osborne Brothers, joined the Opry on August 8, 1964 (46 years). Although Sonny is now retired from active performing, Bobby continues as an Opry member, headlining his own group the Rocky Top X-Press.

Vince Gill became a member of October 10, 1991 (19 years). He was introduced on stage by Roy Acuff.

Jim Ed Brown became an Opry member on August 12, 1963 (47 years). He actually joined as part of the Browns, which included his sisters Maxine and Bonnie. A few years later, Jim Ed would go solo, although his sisters would continue to make appearances with him on the Opry.

Roy Clark became an Opry member on August 22, 1987 (23 years). Roy had been asked several times in the past to became an Opry member, but he told the Opry management that while he would love to become an Opry member, he could not guarantee that he could fulfill the membership requirements. The Opry finally said that was fine, they would welcome him as a member with that understanding. At least he was honest with the management regarding his appearances, which is more than can be said for some of the current members.

Trace Adkins joined the Opry on August 23, 2003 (7 years). While Jimmy Dickens invited Trace to become an Opry member, Ronnie Milsap did the actual induction honors when he joined.

Pam Tillis became an Opry member on August 26, 2000 (10 years). Pam always thought it was odd that she was a member and not her Dad. It was through a lot of her efforts, that Mel Tillis was finally made an Opry member in 2007.

Among the historical moments in Opry history in August, we have:

August 11, 1952, Hank Williams was fired from the Opry. He would spend what little time he had left trying make good and getting himself reinstated as an Opry member. That reinstatement would never come.

August 25, 1956, George Jones joined the Grand Ole Opry. He would later leave and rejoin the show in 1973. It is kind of funny how the Opry writes it's history. Both George and Jimmy Dickens left the show for a period of time, yet George's Opry induction date is officially considered the date he rejoined the show in 1973, while Jimmy's induction date is still considered his original date in 1948.

August 4, 1959, Skeeter Davis joined the Opry.

August 28, 1965, Roy Acuff returned to the Opry for the first time since he was involved in a serious traffic accident on his way to a show in Terrell, North Carolina. In the accident that seriously injured several members of his band, Roy suffered two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone and broken ribs. One result of the accident was that June Stearns, part of his show at the time, no longer appeared with the Smoky Mountain Boys again. Shot Jackson was the most seriously hurt of his band members.

August 17, 1967, Charlie Walker became a member of the Opry.

August 10, 2002, the Dixie Chicks performed as guests on the Opry. During their performance on the televised portion of the show, they made the announcement that Porter Wagoner and Bill Carlisle had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the case of both of these performers, especially Porter, it was long overdue. Many people felt that it was an injustice that Dolly Parton had been elected to the Hall of Fame before Porter.

In honor of Trace Adkins becoming an Opry member, here is the line-up from Saturday August 23, 2003, the night he officially became an Opry member:

6:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Jimmy C. Newman; Osborne Brothers
7:00: Lorrie Morgan(host); Del McCoury Band; Ronnie Milsap; Trace Adkins
8:00: Porter Wagoner(host); Jean Shepard; Doyle Dykes; Opry Squre Dance Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee(host); Mike Snider; Patty Loveless

9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Ronnie Milsap
10:00: Porter Wagoner(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Osborne Brothers; Lorrie Morgan
10:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jack Greene; Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dance Band; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Mike Snider(host); Jean Shepard; Trace Adkins
11:30: John Conlee(host); Doyle Dykes; Del McCoury Band

In honor of Porter Wagoner and Bill Carlisle, here is the line-up from the Opry on Saturday August 10, 2002, the night they were officially announced as members of the Country Music Hall of Fame:

6:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Jim Ed Brown; Bering Strait
7:00: Brad Paisley(host); Jamie O'Neal; Lee Greenwood; Dixie Chicks
8:00: Porter Wagoner(host); Bill Carlisle; Jeannie Seely; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee(host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Hal Ketchum

9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Hal Ketchum; Charlie Walker; Dixie Chicks
10:00: Porter Wagoner(host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Brad Paisley
10:30: Jean Shepard(host); Holly Dunn; Lee Greenwood; Opry Square Dance Band; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee(host); Jeannie Seely; Jack Greene; Jamie O'Neal
11:30: George Hamilton IV(host); Connie Smith; Bering Strait

I hope you enjoy this look back.


  1. That may have been one of Holly Dunn's last Opry appearances. I also note the number of members on the shows.

    Thanks again for posting so much great material.

  2. Your comment about Holly Dunn got be checking, and her last Opry appearance, according to my records, was on Saturday night November 1, 2003. She was not on Bill Anderson's segment that night, but I remember Bill making a comment that he had just found out that Holly was leaving Nashville to move to New Mexico and was planning on leaving the music industry. I don't know if that comment was made on her final night or he had made the comment earlier.

    So you were definitly right about that being one of Holly's final appearances.

  3. I don't know about New Mexico, but she lived in the Temple, Texas area (close to Waco)about that time. I saw her on several occasions where I worked.

  4. Thanks for the information about her living in Texas. I always enjoy the updates from my readers.

    I checked her website, and it says that her studio is now located in Salado, Texas. I do know that at one time she was working out of a studio in Santa Fe, New, Mexico. I am not sure what years that would have been.

  5. Salado is a little arts and crafts community bordering Temple.

  6. Thanks for the location. Is that the area where she is originally from?

  7. I think she was born in San Antonio which is not that far. The first time I waited on her I wasn't absolutely sure it was her, but told a co-worker that I thought she was Holly Dunn. She proceeded to yell out over the microphone "are you the Holly Dunn thats the country singer? Linda here is a big fan of yours!" Embarrassing!