Friday, February 24, 2012

Grand Ole Opry---February 24, 1979

I was going through my items and found the Grand Ole Opry line up from February 24, 1979, which was 33 years ago. It was a Saturday night and there were 2 shows. Nothing special took place that night, but the line up was very, very good from that night, so I thought I would go ahead and post it. Enjoy the look back:

Saturday February 24, 1979

1st show
6:00: Vietti
Billy Walker (host): Come A Little Bit Closer
Jean Shepard: Heart, We Did All That We Could/If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down/Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Wilma Lee Cooper: Bucket to the South
Billy Walker: Lawyers

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Ernie Ashworth: Tak Back Trembling Lips
Jack Greene (host): Lord, I Need Somebody Bad Tonight
Billy Grammer: Maiden's Prayer/Faded Love
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool

6:45: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Alone With You
Lonzo & Oscar: Columbus Stockade Blues
Marion Worth: For the Good Times
Roy Drusky: Peel Me A Nanner

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Sunshine
Dottie West: Sing Your Song, Sweet Music Man/When Two Fools Collide
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way that We're Doing it Now
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/Carroll County Accident/Green Green Grass of Home/Ole' Slewfoot

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball/Tennessee Central #9/Sunshine Special
Connie Smith: Once A Day/Back Up on the Mountain
Stu Phillips: Thank God She's Mine
Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers: Billy in the Low Ground
Roy Acuff: Mansion on the Hill

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): Jealous Lovin Heart
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads & Golden Needles/I'll Fly Away
Ray Pillow: Hungry Man's Dream
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol Tale That the Crow Told Me
Jimmy C Newman: Happy Cajun
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Rhumba Boogie
Jeanne Pruett: I Can't Help It/May Tears Ago/Wild Side of Life/Satin Sheets
4 Guys: Let Your Love Flow
Jan Howard: When I Dream
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Hank Snow: Mysterious Lady from St. Martinique

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Ernest Tubb (host): I'll Step Aside
Jean Shepard: Half A Mind
Billy Walker: Lawyers
Wilma Lee Cooper: Come Walk With Me
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Billy Grammer: Maiden's Prayer/Faded Love
Roy Drusky: One Day at a Time

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): I'm Gonna Act Right
Dottie West: Sometimes When We Touch
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose in December
Willis Brothers: Cimarron
Porter Wagoner: Ole Slewfoot

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Lonzo & Oscar: Bluegrass Melody
Marion Worth: Paper Roses
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Charlie Walker (host): Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Connie Smith: When God Dips His Love In My Heart
Justin Tubb: As Long As Their's A Sunday
Charlie Louvin: Who's Gonna Love Me Now

10:45: Beechnut
Jimmy C Newman (host): River Road
Skeeter Davis: Georgia
Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers: Mississippi Sawyer
Jimmy C Newman: Instrumental

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): With This Ring I Thee Wed
Jan Howard: Save the Last Dance for Me/I Never Will Marry
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Alabama Gal
Stu Phillips: It's A Heartache
Kirk McGee: The World is Waiting for the Sunrise/When the Saints go Marching In
Hank Snow: Mysterious Lady from St. Martinique

11:30: Acme
4 Guys (host): Freedom Lives in a Country Song
Jeanne Pruett: I Can't Help It/Many Tears Ago/Wild Side of Life/Satin Sheets
Ray Pillow: Texas When I Die/Hungry Man's Dream
Bill Carlisle: Gone Home
4 Guys: Love, Love, Love

If I counted right, that comes out to 29 acts appearing that night, all of whom were Opry members. The only ones still performing on the Opry today are Jean Shepard, Jack Greene, Connie Smith, Jan Howard, Jimmy C Newman, Stu Phillips and Ray Pillow. Jeanne Pruett is retired and the 4 Guys were fired.


  1. So much more entertainment and artists back then. No reason there still can't be !

    Grandpa Jones is missing. He must have been on the road.

  2. About half of the members were there, so a few would have been on the road. We MIGHT say the dancers still perform, since the Opry Square Dancers were formed from the Melvin Sloan Dancers when Melvin, Ralph's younger brother, retired; at least one of them was part of the group in 1979, and Earl White was the fiddler for the Crook Brothers. If I'm correct, Jimmy Capps is the only current Opry staff band member who would have been there then.

  3. Fred here:

    Wonderful, wonderful stuff. Note not just the loaded lineup; the variety of styles in the artists and in the material; but this: There's not a dreamboat -- the kind that makes today's kids squeal and we're supposed to need more of to make the Opry go -- of either sex in the lineup. Yet I'll bet there were more people in the Opry House that night than on a typical Saturday night these days.

    It's not all the Opry's fault or the industry's fault. Both the Opry and the industry, I'm sure, try to give the fans what they think the fans want. It's the fans who have changed, I think, and not for the better, from my perspective. But who am I -- or anybody else -- to tell people what they're supposed to want in the way of music?

    As long as I can stagger off into the sunset with my own vinyl and CDs, I'm a lucky guy. (Tonight we're spinning out cowboy music from a great anthology and bluegrass gospel by 1)the Country Gentlemen and 2) Carl Story.)

  4. I counted twenty-nine acts in the first show held 33 years ago, and it lasted two and a half hours.
    Now we get a two hour show, with around a dozen or thirteen acts.
    Charging more and more for less and less is not going to work forever.

  5. Nat, I noticed that. Also, notice that the first show was three hours, and the second show had just about everybody jammed in. But one point, for what it's worth. I think the songs tend to be longer today, and there's more chatter. I remember on one TV portion Bill Monroe getting in four songs for himself with four songs by other performers and thinking, he can run a railroad!

  6. I used to love going to the Opry in the winter time when we'd go to the Friday night Opry that lasted, if I remember right about four hours. This was in the late 80s, early 90s. I still get a tingle when I hear that intro to "Movin' On" and I can hear Grant Turner saying: "This portion of the Friday Nigh Opry brought to you by Luck's Peas, Greens and Beans. Now let's welcome the Singing Ranger, Hank Snow and his Rainbow Ranch Boys!" Then we'd go to both shows on Saturday night and watch the flashbulbs pop all over the Opry House when Roy would come out. Of course, that's when it was like $12 to go to the shows AND you could expect to see 18-20 Opry stars on each show. Really glad I got to go then. I haven't been since Porter passed except once and I'm afraid I'd be really disappointed. Time marches on and no matter how you wish it was different a lot of the old timers are gone now. I saw the posts about the old-timer's show and it might be a nice start if the Opry would just put the veteran's all one one show! One of the best shows I ever went to was the first show back at the Ryman -- not the official broadcast in 1999 (I was at those shows too) but the one Bettie Walker put on for the Performer's Benefit on a Sunday Night in about 1998... talk about electricity in the ole Ryman that night!!

  7. I am glad that you mentioned the show that was put on at the Ryman in 1998. The exact date was October 18, and yes, it was a Sunday night. It was the success of that show and the excitement of the artists that led to the decision to bring the Opry back to the Ryman in January 1999.

    For those who were unable to attend the 1998 show, or have never seen the artist line up from that night, here it is:

    7:00: Mrs. Jeanette Rudy
    Bill Anderson (host)
    Stu Phillips
    Wilma Lee Cooper
    Osborne Brothers
    Charlie Louvin
    Jeanne Pruett

    7:30: Bob Williams Lincoln Mercury
    Jimmy Dickens (host)
    Hank Locklin
    Roy Clark
    Charlie Walker
    Skeeter Davis

    8:00: Yasuda Guitars
    Billy Walker (host)
    Stonewall Jackson
    The Whites
    Del Reeves
    Holly Dunn

    8:45: Jett Williams & Keith Adkinson
    Jimmy C Newman (host)
    Jack Greene
    Jean Shepard
    Patty Loveless
    John Conlee
    Billy Grammer

    9:15: United Shows of America
    Porter Wagoner (host)
    Joe Diffie
    Marty Stuart
    Travis Tritt
    Vince Gill
    Steve Wariner

    9:45: Bayer Pharmaceutical
    Lorrie Morgan (host)
    The Four Guys
    Jan Howard
    Ernie Ashworth
    Jeannie Seely
    Johnny Russell

    Waylon Jennings also made an appearance.

    Kyle Cantrell, Ralph Emery and Eddie Stubbs were the announcers and the Melvin Sloan Dancers were also there along with the Carol Lee Singers. Talk about a line up. This show was better than the Opry that weekend.

  8. I wonder why the show started at 6 that night instead of the usual 6:30. I'm pretty sure most weeks in 1979, the 6 to 6:30 spot was the Grand Ole Opry Warm Up Show with Grant Turner playing records from the stage.

  9. Brian, during that time period, some of the Opry's shows started at 6. This was during the period after the Opry moved to the Opry House, which was drawing big crowds. The other reason was because there were so many artists on the show that they had to schedule an earlier start.

    My records show some 6:00 starts in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and into the 1980s

    During that part of the Opry's history, if you were an Opry member and wanted to do that Opry that night, they put you on the schedule. Sorry to say, that is no longer the case unless you are one of the superstars, and even then it does not always happens.

  10. I am trying to find out what year Larry Gatlin was inducted into the Opry. I know for a fact it was Christmas Eve because I was in the audience. I just can't remember what year.