Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 3/15 & 3/16

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend, which will mark the 39th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry House. This week the Friday Night Opry will feature guest artists Joey + Rory, along with Exile. Frequent Opry guest Mandy Barnett is also scheduled, along with newcomer Rachel Farley, who will be making her Opry debut. She is another in the line of "hot new" female country artists and has been doing some dates with Florida Georgia Line and Montgomery Gentry. The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will feature Opry member Charlie Daniels, along with Steven Curtis Chapman, Sarah Darling and Keith & Kristyn Getty. Steven Curtis Chapman is promoting a bluegrass album. Also scheduled both nights are Opry members Bill Anderson and Ricky Skaggs. Missing again is Jimmy Dickens.

Friday March 15:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Joey + Rory; Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Exile
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Rachel Farley; Mike Snider
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Mandy Barnett

Saturday March 16:
7:00: Nashville Irish Step Dancers; Jim Ed Brown (host); Craig Campbell; Mike Snider; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Steven Curtis Chapman
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Sarah Darling; Keith & Kristyn Getty; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Daniels Band

As I noted last week, it was on March 9, 1974 that the last Grand Ole Opry show was held at the Ryman Auditorium. The final Friday Night Opry was held on March 15, 1974. So following the theme, it was 39 years ago this Saturday, March 16, 1974 that the new Grand Ole Opry House opened. As you would expect, it was a star-packed show that featured a visit from President Richard Nixon, who was the first President to visit the Opry. He appeared during the 1st show, which started at 6:30 and lasted until 10:15. The 2nd show started at 10:45 and finished up just prior to 2 a.m. While legend has it that just about every Grand Ole Opry member was there for the opening of the new Opry House, that is not quite true. Those that were missing included Bobby Bare, Archie Campbell, Bill Carlisle, Lester Flatt, Tom T Hall (who would later say he quit the night they left the Ryman), David Houston, George Jones, Bob Luman, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Billy Walker and Tammy Wynette. Tom T was actually scheduled but didn't show, while Hank Locklin, Lonzo and Oscar, Jean Shepard and the Willis Brothers were on just the first show and Marty Robbins did just his usual 2nd show.

Speaking of the 1st show, the artists appeared more or less in alphabetical order, with Roy Acuff coming out first. That was followed by the entire cast coming out and then the show was underway. The commercials were still played, although there were no real Opry segments. The 2nd show tried to go the same way, but a few of the artists got out of line.

The first show started with the picture of George D Hayf from the 1940 "Grand Ole Opry' movie. His voice came through saying, "First, we're gonna hear from Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys. Smoke it up, Roy!" Then on the screen was the young Roy Acuff, starting to sing "Wabash Cannonball". The screen slowly rose and there in front of the audience was the real Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys, picking up the song perfectly. The crowd rose to a standing ovation as the entire cast of the Opry came out to join Roy. He made a few comments and the cast sang, "You Are My Sunshine" and the show was off and running. The President arrived around 7 and went up to the balcony to their seats. About a half hour later, Roy Acuff asked the Presidential party if they wished to join them on stage, which of course they did. The President stayed about 1 hour at the Opry.

I have printed this before, but I know there are many new readers to the blog. So for that reason, here is the running order of the 2 shows from Saturday March 16, 1974, the opening of the new Grand Ole Opry House.

1st show:
Roy Acuff: Wabash Cannonball
Roy Acuff and Everyone: You Are My Sunshine
Howdy Forrester/ Ralph Sloan and the Tennessee Travelers: Squaredance
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks'
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Roy Drusky: Satisfied Mind
Jerry Clower: Marchelle's Talking Chain Saw
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Richard Nixon and Everyone: Happy Birthday Mrs. Nixon
Richard Nixon: My Wild Irish Rose
Roy Acuff and Everyone: Stay A Little Longer
Everyone: God Bless America
Jan Howard: My Kind of People
Fruit Jar Drinkers/Tennessee Travelers: Sally Goodin
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Lonzo & Oscar: Traces of Life
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud
Charlie Louvin: D. McCall: American Trilogy
George Morgan: you Turn Me On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin On Me
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Maria
Ernest Tubb: Walking The Floor Over You
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Hearted Me
Justin Tubb: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination

2nd show:
Roy Acuff: Back in the Country
Howdy Forrester: Eighth of January
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe
Ernie Ashworth: Honky-Tonk Hardwood Floor
Jim Ed Brown: The Three Bells
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Jeannie Seely: Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight, Mister
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: What in the World Has Gone Wrong With Our Love
Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination
Jan Howard: Sunshine on My Shoulders
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Grandpa Jones: Heading South With Nashville On My Mind
Connie Smith: Dallas
Bobby Lord: Mississippi
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife, She's My Woman
Jerry Clower: The Last Piece of Chicken
George Morgan: Red Rose From the Blue Side of Town
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: Potato Song
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin On Me
Sam & Kirk McGee: Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I
4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Justin Tubb: Rambling Man
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmin
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Marion Worth: Me & Bobby McGee
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman
Ronnie Robbins: Mama Tried
Marty Robbins: I'm Wanting To/Big Boss Man/Singing the Blues

There are a couple of great stories from that opening night, courtesy of Bill Anderson. The first one is that when President Nixon was finished and left the building, the next artist scheduled was Jan Howard. As she said on stage, "I've had some tough acts to follow in my career, but I wouldn't give this spot to a dry cleaner." And the 2nd is that he asked Ernest Tubb what he thought of the President coming to the Opry and Ernest answered, "I just wished it'd been a different President." There were also unconfirmed stories that the reason Bill Monroe wasn't there was because of the President, not that it was Richard Nixon personally, but that because he was from the wrong political party!!

Next weekend I will be headed to Nashville and a weekend at the Opry that will feature Opry member Alan Jackson, who will be making his once a year appearance on the Opry.


  1. Great stuff, Byron. I read that Mr. Monroe once said to somebody, "Well, I didn't have no yoyo."

    I remember that when CBS did the 60th anniversary special (the one that led to the Statlers not returning to the Opry when they were critical of not having Hank Snow on it or Porter Wagoner sing), they opened much as they did on the night above: with Mr. Acuff's old recording, and then him and the cast picking up live.

    I also read that Jeannie Seely wore a mini-skirt that night that caused a bit of an uproar and that when Minnie got out there, she said she'd been waiting so long to go on, her dress had gone out of style.

    And aren't you overstating the number of Alan Jackson's appearances on the Opry? Is he up to once a year?

  2. What a show in 74 !!!! Wish they would issue it on DVD... I believe Minnie's appearance is on youtube.

    I wonder if Alan Jackson is really in town just to do the Opry, or for another reason? Maybe a Hall of Fame announcement ? If that is the case, I really will loose a lot of faith in the election process, with Ronnie Milsap, The Oaks, Kenny Rogers, Ray Stevens, Crystal Gayle and others still waiting in that category. I handled the Garth Brooks pill (it was not hard to do really with 128 Million record sales under his belt, more than Elvis or the Beatles), but I cannot see Jackson justifiably elected yet.

  3. David:

    I have the Opry app on my phone, and while I don't remember the exact date, I remember that Alan Jackson was scheduled for next weekend even before the leak post on here. So barring a coincidence, you can catch your breath.

  4. I think that one of the reasons Alan Jackson scheduled his Opry appearance for next weekend is that he is releasing his new gospel CD, "Precious Memoires" Volume 2, which is on pre-order now and comes out within a couple of weeks.

  5. Hey Guys What Are Your Final Predictions For This Years Hall Of Fame Inductees?

  6. my hall of fame picks is everybody we have been talking about in the last few weeks [just kidding]My final hall of fame picks for 2013 is [Modern Era,Kenny Rogers,Ronnie Milsap,Oak Ridge Boys],[Veteran Era,Hank Williams Jr.,Bradley Kincaid,June Carter Cash,Dottie West],[Musician,Don Rich]

  7. This is my prediction...we'll see Kenny Rogers from the modern era, Veterans will be a tie between the Browns and Dottie West, and the non-performer will be Buddy Killen.

    I checked the Oaks site because they never miss an opportunity to brag on themselves and didn't see anything resembling a hint about HOF.

    1. This could be dead on.. Would not surprise me in the least.

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  9. Just read we have lost Jack Greene.