Monday, October 15, 2012

October 16th In Opry History

October is the month that the Grand Ole Opry has their annual birthday celebration. For some reason, a number of the celebrations took place on October 16th. I thought it would be interesting to take a look back through the years at the line-ups for some of these shows, as you can see the progression of the Opry and the cast of the show.

The 1st one is from Saturday October 16, 1971. At the time, the Opry's birthday show took place as part of the annual Disc Jockey convention that took place in Nashville. The convention was an opportunity for the country music stars to meet the local disc jockeys from around the country. It was such an important event that most of the members of the Grand Ole Opry were present. Much of the time was spent doing interviews that would air on the local stations and recording station identification messages. This was during a time when almost all radio was locally owned and could play what ever records they wanted, so it was important for the artists to connect. 1971 marked the Opry's 46th anniversary.

6:30: Vietti
Tex Ritter (host): Just Beyond the Moon
Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Roy Drusky: Long, Long Texas Road
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Tex Ritter: Fall Away

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Anderson (host) & Jan Howard: Dissatisfied
Jan Howard: I Hurt All Over
Ray Pillow: Haven't You Heard
Ernie Ashworth: A Bottle of the Blues
Bill Anderson: Quits

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Bill Monroe: Katy Hill

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Coming Down From God
Tom T Hall: I Remember the Year that Clayton Delaney Died
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Howdy Forrester: Sally Goodin
George Morgan: Gentle Rains of Home
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Ernest Tubb (host): Answer the Phone
Loretta Lynn: Put Your Hand in the Hand
Charlie Louvin & Melba Montgomery: Something to Brag About
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: All Right, I'll Sign the Papers
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Ernest Tubb: Shenendoah Waltz

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Will You Be Loving Another Man
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Dottie West: Country Girl
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Del Reeves: Philadelphia Fillies
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year
Lester Flatt: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Sea Shores of Old Mexico
Wilburn Brothers: That 'She's Leaving' Feeling
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Bob Luman: Today I Started Loving You Again/Honky-Tonk Man
4 Guys: Shenendoah
Hank Snow: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On

9:30: Kelloggs
Tex Ritter (host): Fall Away
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors
Jim Ed Brown: She's Leaving
Roy Drusky: I Love the Way That You've Been Loving Me
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Dirty Rice
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): Quits
Bill Anderson & Jan Howard: Dissatisfied
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Ray Pillow: The Waitress

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
George Morgan: Gentle Rains of Home
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): The Bluebirds Singing For Me
Tom T Hall: I Remember the Year That Clayton Delaney Died
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Lester Flatt: Orange Blossom Special

10:45: Beechnut
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Loretta Lynn: Lead Me On
Billy Walker: How Great Thou Art
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Snowbird
Earl Scruggs Review: T For Texas
Jack Greene: There's A Whole Lot About A Woman A Man Don't Know
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Del Reeves: Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On/Hound Dog
Freddie Hart: Easy Lovin'/My Hangup Is You
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Wilburn Brothers: That 'She's Leaving' Feeling
Connie Smith: Just One Time
4 Guys: Let the Sun Keep Shining
Bob Luman: Getting Back to Norma
Marty Robbins: I Walk Alone/Begging to You/Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Singing the Blues/El Paso

A couple of notes from that show: If that line-up wasn't big enough, Porter Wagoner, Glaser Brothers, Jim & Jesse and Cousin Jody were all scheduled but failed to appear. The only Opry members not scheduled were Bobby Bare, Margie Bowes, Archie Campbell, Skeeter Davis, Billy Grammer, Hank Locklin, Lonzo & Oscar, Bobby Lord, Osborne Brothers, Jean Shepard, Stringbean, Mel Tillis (listed). Marion Worth and George Hamilton IV. The show ran 1 hour long. And to show how WSM programmed the Opry, the radio show actually started at 7 with the Vietti segment. The 7:00 Luzianne segment from between 9-9:30 on the radio, between shows.

The next line-up is from 5 years later, on October 16, 1976, the Opry's 51st show:

6:30: Charlie Walker (host); Guy Willis; Bill Carlisle
6:45: Del Reeves (host); Hank Locklin
7:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Stonewall Jackson; George Hamilton IV; Brother Oswald; Roy Clark
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilburn Brothers; Dottie West; Jimmy C Newman; Roy Drusky; Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); 4 Guys; Jerry Clower; David Houston; Lonzo & Oscar; Marion Worth
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Stu Phillips; Del Wood; Jimmy Dickens; Fruit Jar Drinkers

9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Dottie West; Guy Willis
10:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Bill Carlisle; Kitty Wells; Johnny Wright
10:15: Stonewall Jackson (host); Hank Locklin; George Hamilton IV
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Lonzo & Oscar; 4 Guys; Roy Clark
10:45: Wilburn Brothers (host); Jerry Clower; Brother Oswald; Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jeanne Pruett; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Del Wood; Kirk McGee
11:30: David Houston (host); Stu Phillips; Jimmy Dickens; Marion Worth

What a difference 5 years made!! Roy Clark did both shows as a guest and Kitty Wells guested on the 2nd show.

The 3rd year I wanted to post is from October 16, 1982, the Opry's 57th birthday show. Doyle Wilburn of the Wilburn Brothers died earlier that morning.

6:00: Del Reeves (host); Jeannie Seely; Lonzo & Oscar; Jimmy Dickens; Teddy Wilburn; Del Wood
6:30: 4 Guys (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Billy Walker (host); Justin Tubb
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jean Shepard; Hank Locklin; Billy Grammer; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith; Osborne Brothers; Charlie Walker; Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Roy Drusky; Minnie Pearl; Charley Pride
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jack Greene; Vic Willis Trio; Bill Carlisle; Riders In The Sky; Fruit Jar Drinkers

9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); 4 Guys; Del Reeves; Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Lonzo & Oscar; Hank Locklin
10:00: Stonewall Jackson (host): Jimmy Dickens; Jan Howard; Del Wood
10:15: Grandpa Jones (host); Billy Walker; Teddy Wilburn; Osborne Brothers
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Minnie Pearl; Connie Smith
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Charlie Louvin; Jean Shepard; Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Billy Grammer; Charlie Walker; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Justin Tubb; Kirk McGee
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Vic Willis Trio;Bill Carlisle; Riders In The Sky; Larry Gatlin

Now let's move up to the Opry's 68th birthday celebration on October 16, 1993:

6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jack Greene; Billy Walker
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Charlie Louvin; Skeeter Davis; 4 Guys; Jimmy Dickens
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Tracy Byrd; Jeannie Seely
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Randy Travis; Charlie Walker; The Whites

9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jan Howard; Osborne Brothers; Tracy Byrd
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:15: Grandpa Jones (host); David Houston; Bill Carlisle
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin
10:45: Bill Monroe (host); Jeanne Pruett; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; 4 Guys; Hank Locklin; Ray Pillow
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Johnny Russell

Those were some of the line-ups from the birthday shows a few years back. Safe to say that times have changed a bit at the Opry.


  1. Byron,

    Thanks for the lineups. One thing I distinctly remember about the 1982 show was Teddy’s performance on the second show. Grandpa was obviously a little shaken and introduced Teddy as Teddy and Doyle, actually I think he said Teddy Doyle. Gracious as they always were, Teddy said “that’s alright Grandpa, you were just thinking of Doyle, as many of you know, we lost Doyle this morning”.

    Doyle was 52 and my dad had just turned 43 and was fighting a brain tumor at the time. The Wilburn’s were one of his all time favorites and that was the only time I ever saw him show emotion over the loss of someone outside our family. Dad lived to age 49!

    That was a tough fall, we lost Jimmy Riddle and Marty Robbins come the first of December!


  2. Jim, that had to be tough. My mother was dying of cancer at the same time that Boxcar Willie was, and I remember how we were thinking about him at the same time.

    Byron, a great set of lineups, and a reminder of how the mighty have fallen. I notice Mr. Acuff was out in October 1976 and wonder whether he had been having some health problems then, or might have just been under the weather?

  3. Yes, Michael. Acuff was having a number of health issues in 1976. He had been away from the Opty for about 10 weeks earlier in the summer and had just returned to the show in August. He missed the birthday celebration that year but I don't recall him being out for long in October. I would have to double check on that.

  4. Fred, Bismarck:

    As always, food for thought in these old lineups. Just seeing Tex sing "Just Beyond the Moon"! I've got the single in my heavy rotation, and have asked the sweet wife to play it at my funeral.

    That hit was so long ago. Where I first heard it: on WHO, Des Moines. The jock was Mike Hoyer. Did anyone else on here listen to him? He was a good one, back in the old days when jocks played what they wanted. WHO is where I also caught up with Bob Wills' latest, featuring Mel Tillis on "Faded Love."

    If such miracles could happen today, we would be happier country fans!

  5. Thanks, Barry. Fred, I just get a warm feeling when I think of good old Tex.

  6. Strange that I was researching something else from 1976 and just happened to notice Roy Acuff being gone for an extended period. Since one of the things in my collection of "stuff" is Opry lineups for all of 1976 (minus 2 weekends for some reason) I went back and took a second look...and realized why this seemed si familiar to me 30 years later.

    Roy appeared on the Opry on April 10, 1976. About mid-week, he suffered a massive heart attack and was hospitalized. My family was on vacation and we were at the Opry the following weekend and I now remember being so disappointed that he wasn't there but also just about everyone on the show sending out get well wishes over the air. I've got that program and it's a stark reminder of the quality of the show in those Roy Acuff, no Bill Monroe, no Porter Wagoner, no Bill Anderson, no Ernest Tubb, no Grandpa Jones, no Marty Robbins, no Jack Greene and Jeannie Seely, no Osborne Brothers, no Jimmy Dickens, no Minnie Pearl, no Jim and Jesse, no Wilburn Brothers and it was still a GREAT show...and everyone on the lineup was a member! Imagine if you had that many of the "regulars" unavailable these days.

    He remained off of the Opry until August 6 or 13 (August 6 is one of the lineups I'm missing but he was back on the show the 13th). He was back though October 9 the weekend before the DJ convention and I believe suffered another mild heart attack early that week. Anyway he was away from the Opry that time for about a month until the middle of November (I made a note but don't have it right in front of me).

    Don't know if that's of any interest to anyone but that's why he wasn't part of the birthday celebration that year.

  7. Barry, thanks for the update and it was of interest to me. Take care.

  8. Wow. I had never known about that, Barry. Thanks. Definitely of interest to me. When he was gone for a few months in 1985, I've since read that that was a pulmonary embolism. I guess no major heart issues after the ones in 1976, at least until the last year or so of his life.