GRAND OLE OPRY CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF MUSIC AT THE GRAND OLE OPRY HOUSE
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry House and the Opry is celebrating wtih special events and shows throughout the year.
The Grand Ole Opry is celebrating 40 years of country music at its permanent home, the Grand Ole Opry House. The celebration kicked off with two shows on March 15, will continue throughout the year, and will lead up to next year’s mark of 90 years since the Opry was founded on Nov. 28, 1925.
The Grand Ole Opry House is the Opry’s sixth home. It is also the only home built specifically for the Opry and the residence the Opry has called home the longest. The Opry House opened on March 16, 1974 with a standing room only Opry performance attended by President and Mrs. Richard Nixon, among other VIP guests. The evening marked the first time a U.S. president had ever attended the Opry. Nixon still stands as the only president ever to have performed on the Opry, having played “My Wild Irish Rose” and “God Bless America” on the Opry’s upright piano in addition to “Happy Birthday” in honor of First Lady Pat Nixon, who was celebrating her birthday that night. Even more memorably, President Nixon received an impromptu on-stage yo-yo lesson from Opry stalwart and yo-yo enthusiast Roy Acuff. During the lesson, Nixon famously quipped, “I’ll stay here and try to learn how to use the yo-yo; you go up and be President, Roy!”
The anniversary is also marked by the March 15 release of Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, a new book treating fans to an all-access, behind the scenes look backstage at country music’s most famous show. The book offers more than 250 exclusive photos from the show’s archives along with stories and recollections from the Opry’s most beloved stars.
MARCH 15 HIGHLIGHTS
The Grand Ole Opry kicked off the celebration of 40 years of music at the Grand Ole Opry House with two shows on March 15. The celebration kicked off with the newest members of the Opry, Old Crow Medicine Show, leading the cast in a show-opening performance of Opry patriarch Roy Acuff's "Wabash Cannonball." The 40th Opry House Anniversary Show began as the very first Opry performance at the Opry House did, with video footage of Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys from 1940 performing the band's signature song. That performance transitioned to footage of Acuff and the Opry cast singing the song on March 15, 1974 before finally seamlessly transitioning to the curtain going up on Old Crow and a stage full of other performers that night finishing the number for the life audience.
During two sold-out shows, additional artists who appeared included Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Bill Anderson, Clint Black, Connie Smith, Josh Turner, and more.
"It's good to be here tonight, y'all," Lambert said on stage after performing her current single "Automatic." "I thought this next song would be appropriate to sing tonight to celebrate the Opry," she continued. Photos of special moments in the history of the Opry House then played on the Opry's signautre barn screen as Lambert performed her smash "The House That Built Me."
Lambert's husband and Opry member Blake Shelton took the stage next, performing his hit "Honey Bee."
"Happy 40th anniversary to the Grand Ole Opry House!" Shelton cheered. "This particular building is the one I grew up dreaming of performing in someday... I was trying to think coming here today: 'what's something I can do that's cool?' There's nothing cool about me whatsoever. The only really cool thing about me that's cool is my wife, so if it's OK, I'll have her come back out here." Lambert then returned to the stage and the couple performed Shelton's hit "Home," ending the song inserting the Grand Ole Opry into the lyrics, singing "It will all be alright // We're on the Grand Ole Opry tonight."
ONGOING SHOWS AND EVENTS
The Opry House 40th Anniversary Celebration will continue throughout the year with numerous shows and events and will include the 40th Anniversary exhibit as a regular stop on Opry House Backstage Tours. The exhibit includes both the yo-yo and the piano used by President Nixon during his Opry visit. Grand Ole Opry House Backstage Tours are available seven days a week and after most Opry performances. Click here for more information.
Opry performances are scheduled for every Friday and Saturday of the year. Tuesday shows will take place March 4 – Dec. 9, and Wednesday shows return June 11 – Aug. 6. Grand Ole Opry House Backstage Tours are available seven days a week* and after most Opry performances. Tickets and information are available at opry.com, 800-SEE-OPRY and at the Opry House Box Office.
*Times and schedules may vary based on Opry House availability.