Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 15, 1974-Final Opry Show At The Ryman

Continuing with the history of the Grand Ole Opry in March, Friday March 15, 1974 was the final Opry show held at the "old" Ryman Auditorium. History dictated that the 1st show in the new Opry House would take place on a Saturday night, so on the Friday before the grand opening, they closed out the Ryman.

Over the years, the Opry has produced a copy of the program that was sold at the Ryman on that final night, but as I list the running order of the show, and if you have a copy of that program to compare it to, you will notice a couple of differences. Not many, but a couple.

Here is the running order of that final show at the Ryman, on Friday March 15, 1974:

7:00: Cracker Barrel
Roy Drusky (host): Alone With You
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' On Me
Jan Howard: The One You Slip Around With
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Roy Drusky: Satisfied Mind
Del Reeves: Girl On The Billboard
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back To Little Rock
Charlie Walker: Wanting My Woman Again
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose

7:30: Varallo
Bill Anderson (host): If You Can Live With It
Bob Luman: Lonely Women Make Good Lovers
Jim & Jesse: Diesel On My Tail
Mary Lou Turner: Poor Sweet Baby
Bill Anderson: A World Of Make Believe
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks

8:00: Tennessee Pride/U.S. Borax
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Bobby Bare: Ride Me Down Easy
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Justin Tubb: Ramblin' Man
Phil Campbell: Valley Of The Never Do No Good
Bobby Bare & Bobby Bare Jr: Daddy, What If
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Traveling Singing Man

8:30: Kroger
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel
Roy Acuff: Back In The Country
Jean Shepard: At The Time
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Roy Acuff: Cabin In Gloryland

9:00: Baltz. Bros./Schlitz
Wilburn Brothers (host): It's Another World
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need To Move A Mountain
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Del Wood: Down Yonder

9:30: Acme Boot Co./Beechnut
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Hank Locklin: Goodbye Dear Old Ryman
Grandpa Jones: Dooley
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Cates Sisters: Devils Dream
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Grandpa Jones: Heading South With Nashville On My Mind
Bill Carlisle: Too Old To Cut The Mustard
Jim Ed Brown: Sometimes Sunshine

10:00: Cee Bee Foods/Schlitz
Billy Walker (host): Sing Me Love Song To Baby
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife, She's My Woman
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me On Sundays/What Are Those Things
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes

10:30: Shoneys
George Morgan (host): Red Rose From The Blue Side Of Town
4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings Of A Dove
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
George Morgan: Candy Kisses

The show ran about a half hour over, which wasn't bad considering how many songs were sung that final nite.

Of course, George Morgan's Candy Kisses was not the final song that was performed that night, as immediately after the Friday Night Opry, Grand Ole Gospel took place. This show was a 1 hour show that took place after the Friday Night Opry, and lasted just over 25 years. The show was not live on WSM, but was taped on played on Sunday mornings. The host of Grand Ole Gospel for its entire run was the Reverend Jimmy (or Jimmie as in some places) Snow, the son of Hank Snow. Grand Ole Gospel on this final nite at the Ryman featured guest artists Hank Snow, Johnny Cash, June Carter and the Carter Family. (all of whom did not appear on the Friday Night Opry that night). The final song that was performed that night was "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."

Immediately after that show ended, people left and the workers started tearing down pews, signs and a few other items to take to the new Opry House. Other than that, the Ryman Auditorium would remain basically empty and untouched, except for a special event or self-guided tours until 1998, when the Opry returned. I always find it odd visiting the Ryman after the Opry left and seeing the old signs, backdrops, dressing rooms and concession stands left untouched after that final night.

I am glad that the Ryman has been renovated and that the Opry returns each winter for a few months, but to me, there was nothing, and I mean nothing, like watching an Opry show from that old auditorium. It just had a special feeling to it that is gone forever.


  1. Opry Country Clasics, held on selected Thursday nights at the Ryman, recreate the magic for me. They're starting up soon.

  2. I listened in as a kid,on a transitor radio,as we remodeled my uncle's brother's house,he bought.

  3. I attended, almost by accident, the New Year's eve show at the Opry on Dec. 31st, 1973. It was quite the show. Do you have the running order of that show?

  4. I was there this night 13 years old with my mom :)

  5. I was there that night at 18 years old. My friend and I did not have tickets, so we watched the show from the side window. When the Gospel Hour started, we were allowed to go in and watch.. I got to see the best part of the show for free!

  6. Hey, this page just helped me answer a question in a trivia contest. Just wanted to say thanks for putting this info out there!