Offering the very best in entertainment, Grand Ole Opry has become a part of American tradition. The weekly show's musical, parody and comedy performances have won it a dedicated fan base. In the past eight decades several legendry artists have performed on the show. Often called ‘country's most famous stage', the show attracts audience not only from the US but from all over the world. It has also come to be a major tourist attraction and no trip to Nashville, Tennessee is really complete without watching a performance at the Opry.
Grand Ole Opry
Claim To Fame:
Often known as ‘country's most famous stage' and ‘the home of American music'
Winner of Peabody Award, Induction in the National Radio Hall of Fame
The Grand Ole Opry started off as a radio broadcast in November 1925. The one hour program was hosted by George Dewey Hay and Uncle Jimmy Thompson. Initially the show was known as WSM Barn Dance. It got its present name in 1927 when George Dewey Hay started the show saying "From now on, we will present the Grand Ole Opry."
Rise in Popularity
Featuring music of the local artists, the show hit a chord with audiences in Nashville. Seeing the growing popularity of the show, it was expanded to stretch over four hours. Within a few years the Opry came to be a Saturday Night tradition and was broadcasted in thirty states across the US. Soon Grand Ole Opry was presented to a nationwide audience on NBC Radio.
As the popularity of the show grew, fans started gathering outside the venue to see the artists. As a result the broadcast was changed to its present set up to include live audiences. Grand Ole Opry shows have also been aired on TV since 1939. With the advent of digital age the show is also enjoyed by a large number of audiences on the internet.
Grand Ole Opry presented its first broadcast from the National Life & Accident Insurance building in Nashville. Since the change in format to accommodate audiences, the Opry has been staged at various venues. These adjustments were made in order to accommodate the growing number of audiences. Since 1974 the show is held at the Grand Ole Opry House. Interestingly, the opening night of the present venue saw the former US President Richard Nixon take to the stage to perform on the piano. The state of the art venue can accommodate over four thousand people. An important feature of the venue is a six foot circle on the stage which has been cut and inlaid from the Ryman Auditorium stage. Grand Ole Opry tickets, providing the chance to see a live performance on the historic stage are always sought after.
Membership of the Grand Ole Opry is considered an honor. Many legends have gained membership of the show and the list includes Bill Monroe, Skeeter Davis, Johnny Cash, Minnie Pearl, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams and Connie Smith. Other than the legendry artists many contemporary ones are also regularly added as members. Contemporary artists who are members of the Grand Ole Opry include Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins and Rascal Flatts.