Two-Hour Anniversary Special Showcases Nashville’s Most Famous Stage with Original Performances, Stunning Archival Footage and Amazing Behind the Scenes Stories
Grand Ole Opry members Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton will serve as co-hosts for Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music, honoring the iconic Nashville show and the incredible country stars that call it home. The two-hour special is set to air Sunday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Later that same week, Paisley will celebrate his 20th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member. Shelton is marking 10 years as a member.
For almost a century, the Grand Ole Opry has celebrated the past, present and future of country music, showcasing a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps. In that same spirit, the anniversary special brings together artists from across generations who share a passion and reverence for the Opry. With country music stars not only performing their biggest hits, but also covering classics from some of the Opry’s most famous members, it will be an unforgettable night of music. In addition to the incredible performances, the Opry will open its archives that span a period of over nine decades and include interviews, performances and appearances by country artists in all stages of their careers.
Porter Wagoner celebrates his 50th anniversary with the Opry. Wagoner’s former duet partner, Dolly Parton joins in him in celebration to sing Just Someone I Used to Know, The Last Thing on My Mind, and I Will Always Love You. It is the last time the two appear on the Opry statge. May 19, 2007
Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Steve Martin plays the banjo as he makes his Opry debut to promote his album. The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo. Also appearing that night was Vince Gill, Amy Grant, musicians Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien, John McEuen, and others. “I can’t tell you what a thrill it is for me to be standing on this stage with you and all these great people,” said Martin.
On the occasion of her 50th anniversary with the Opry, Minnie Pearl receives 50 dozen – that’s 600 – roses from Dwight Yoakam. President and Mrs. George Bush send a congratulatory telegram, and Dolly Parton shares her good wishes via videotape. After seeing Parton’s message, Pearl quips, “I wear a hat so folks can tell us apart.”
Elvis Presley sings Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky during his one and only Opry appearance. Presley is nervous about the reaction of Monroe of his souped-up 4/4/ time version of the waltz, but is pleasantly surprised when the bluegrass legend compliments his interpretation.
The Opry moves to Ryman Auditorium of Fifth Avenue in downtown Nashville. The building, a former tabernacle, features oak pew seating and nearly perfect acoustics, but no air conditioning.
In order to accommodate growing Saturday night crowds at the National Life Building, the Opry movies into the newly constructed Studio C, which seats 500 guests.
Following an NBC network broadcast of conductor Walter Damrosch’s Music Appreciation Hour, WSM program director George D. Hay, nicknamed the “Solemn Old Judge: proclaims, “For the past hour we have been listening to the music taken largely from the Grand Opera, but from now on we will present the Grand Ole Opry.” The new name sticks
About the Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is the stage that showcases the past, present, and future of country music. For 95 years, we’ve been the home to the art form’s growth and change, from the first broadcast in the National Life Building on WSM’s Barn Dance in 1925 to the move into the new Opry House in 1974, and now to audiences across the globe on Circle TV and host to the 55th Annual ACM Awards in 2020. The Opry remains the platform that connects artists and fans to the music they love.