Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jan Howard-40th Opry Anniversary

Tonight on the Grand Ole Opry, Jan Howard celebrated her 40th anniversary as a member of the Opry. Congratulations to Jan on a great achievement. She is one of the classiest singers on the Opry and one of the legendary ladies of the Opry. Doug Green of the Riders In The Sky, who were hosting the segment that Jan was on, gave her a very nice introduction and mentioned the 40th anniversary and said a few nice words about Jan. And, Jan said a few nice words of thanks and sang a great ballad. She also mentioned that she would be at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop for the Midnight Jamboree. But, the question that I have is where was Pete Fisher and the rest of the Opry management? When Brad Paisley celebrated his 10th anniversary several weeks back, Pete and the Opry made a big production out of it. He was honored during his segment and a big todo was done. I admit that at this point in his career, Brad is a bigger star than Jan. And, this is nothing against Brad personally. But, Jan is one of the legends of the Opry and 40 years is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, 40 years deserves much more recognition than 10. And I would venture a guess that Jan will make more Opry appearances this year than Brad has made in the last 10 years combined. During the segment that Jan was on tonight, they had the guest announcers from some radio station somewhere in America. I know why they do this guest announcer deal (it sells tickets for the local radio station tour to the Opry and it makes the announcers feel important), but this time they had some kid on making some type of Willie Nelson joke!! And, as usual, they gave the guest announcer a special poster to remember the night. I really think that this time would have been better spent (instead of some child giving a Willie joke), in taking a few minutes to really honor Jan on stage with a Hatch poster to commemorate the night and a few special words from Pete, or maybe her friend and former duet partner, Bill Anderson. But, this goes back to how the Opry has been treating its veteran Opry members for the past several years. We keep hoping it will get better, but I guess in our hearts we know better. As 2011 has continued, we have seen reduced appearances for Jimmy C. Newman, The Whites, Connie Smith and Jean Shepard. Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne and Jan Howard are good for one show a week. And, Ray Pillow, Stu Phillips and Stonewall Jackson are good for about one appearance per month. I still don't understand why some of the bigger name Opry stars don't speak up. Unless they are afraid of losing their spots. And I am talking about folks such as Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Brad Paisley (yes, I will throw him on this list). Maybe they do say something behind the scenes, but if they do, it sure doesn't have any affect. Tonight's shows had very good line ups and great crowds. It would have been a great time to honor Jan and show her some appreciation. And for Brad Paisley, who is feeling pretty good about his 10 anniversary on the Opry. If the Opry is under the same management when he hits his 40th anniversary and if he listened to tonight's show, then he will know what he has to look forward to when he is considered one of the legends of the Opry and is pushed aside for the new younger members. Just one man's opinion!!!


  1. Bravo squared!

    I'll go further. Mr. Fisher pays attention only to those artists he feels he needs to kiss up to. If the people you mention and others like Jimmy Dickens went to HIS bosses and complained, do you think he'd stay in the job much longer? I have my doubts. Jim Denny could have talked about that.

  2. Another classless act from a classless Opry management team. I too have long wondered why the bigger name Opry stars remain so passive in the face of a dying institution. Given the Opry's steep decline in the last few years it is quite obvious that they are not doing anything and it only makes it that much harder to tolerate their public professions of "love" and "respect" for the Opry and its stalwarts. In the meantime, please keep up your entertaining and informative posts highlighting the Opry's glorious past. Your recent posts on the PBS show and the Opry house transition shows were great!!

  3. You know the Opry should go back to the way it used to be[the 1940s-1970s]

  4. I think Miss Jan Howard's attitude may be what keeps her from being recognized. She is known for being very unpleasant behind the scenes. She's also not really a great singer, and only had maybe two solo hits. Nobody really seems to remember Jan, and she always gets a very lackluster reaction from the crowd.

  5. Tough words on Jan. I can only say that I have met her 2 times and she was very nice to me on both occasions. And, my then 15 year old daughter also had a very nice visit with her.

    Perhaps she can be difficult at times, I don't know, but either way, 40 years at the Opry deserves special recognition. And that goes for every Opry performer. It is not just regarding Jan, but it seems that the pattern of Opry management, specifically Pete Fisher, is to give either no recognition to veteran members when they reach milestones in Opry membership, or just a casual mention on stage from whoever is hosting the segment.

    And I know it depends on the performer. Porter Wagoner, Roy Acuff, Bill Monore, Minnie Pearl and Grandpa Jones received a big salute, and an entire segment devoted to them when they reached their 50th year as an Opry member. Bill Anderson will receive the same treatment in July. And, they deserve it. But so did Jean Shepard, Charlie Louvin, Stonewall Jackson, George Hamilton IV and Jimmy C. Newman, who received barely a wisper when they hit the milestone. And, Charlie was a Hall of Famer at the time!!!

    Later in April, another Opry veteran, Ray Pillow, will be celebrating his 45th year as an Opry member. That is a greater acheivement than 40, but I will bet right now that barely a mention will be made of it.