Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is the longest-lived radio show in U.S. broadcast history. The weekly transferred from Nashville, Tennessee since 1925, country music concerts have achieved cult status since decades.


On October 5, 1925, the Insurance Company National Life & Accident Insurance Company began owned radio station WSM with the transmit mode. A month later, George D. Hay rose as a program director, who was considered a promoter of the " Oldtime Music". The birth of the Barn Dance show, the precursor of the Grand Ole Opry, suggested on 28 November of the same year with the 77 years old fiddler Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first artist. From then on, the show was broadcast every Saturday night and quickly became a big success. First stars were Dr. Humphrey Bate and his Possum Hunters, DeFord Bailey or Uncle Dave Macon.

1927, the show was renamed Grand Ole Opry. Was the coverage of the radio station initially limited to rural Tennessee, WSM was the beginning of the thirties a new frequency range assigned to that allowed an undisturbed reception in all of North America. WSM 1939 was fed into the network NBC. The meaning of the show took consequently constantly. For a country musician, it was the highest aim of playing at the Grand Ole Opry.

In the early years, was sent from the WSM studio, which was located in the building of the National Insurance Life Insurance. After a few other stations were found in 1943 a new home in the comprehensive 3000 seats Ryman Auditorium, a former church, whose rustic interior represented an atmospheric ambience for the concerts.


End of the 1930s manifested the Opry their reputation and success finally. The concerts were always sold out and the ratio of the radio station always satisfactory. Despite the competition from other shows the Opry could always claim. She promoted the young talents that occurred there, very. Roy Acuff, Hank Williams and Bill Monroe were just some of the artists who became famous through her ​​appearances on the show.

In the 1950s, the popularity increased among young listeners greatly. The onset around 1954 Rock ' n ' Roll robbed of country music 's youthful audience and also the Opry suffered losses. Many artists from the "golden era " but continued to deny ordinary appearances. However, could no longer be tied to the earlier successes; the music scene had changed too much.

Moving to Opryland

The Ryman Auditorium proved despite the declining success as too small. On March 16, 1974, the radio show from downtown Nashville moved into the Cumberland River located just outside the entertainment complex " Opryland ", the concert hall can accommodate 4400 spectators and a lot more comfort. The Opryland belonging to the amusement park was closed in 1997 and rebuilt in the shopping center " Opry Mills " and the largest hotel complex in the world, which is not connected to a casino, called " Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center".

The meaning of the Grand Ole Opry has now somewhat subsided, the cult status has remained, though now represent tourists most of the spectators. The shows are still being transferred from American radio stations and the television station WSM Great American Country Network.

Policy of the Opry

The management of the Grand Ole Opry was known for his conservative views. Drums and electric guitar were frowned upon for many years. They tried to keep out all the fashion trends from the show. The Rock ' n' Roll, which had its origins in country music, was ignored. On October 2, 1954, a young singer named Elvis Presley appeared at the Grand Ole Opry; he was, according to legend recommended after this single performance, better get back to work as a truck driver.

An artist could cameos deny or be a permanent member. A problem of the permanent members were the harsh conditions. For very little money had a high number of occurrences are promised (initially 26 Saturday evening shows, later the number was reduced to 20, for concerts abroad could take leave ). Announced be a permanent member in promotions for his tours as the " Grand Ole Opry Star" on, had 15 % of the revenue to the WSM be dissipated. However, increased interpreters who were member of the Opry, the sales of their plates significantly. Only in the 1970s could afford stars like Merle Haggard to forego appearances there.

Europeans in the Opry

After 1953 was performed with the entertainer Bobbejaan one of the first Europeans on the Grand Ole Opry, complete since repeatedly except American artist guest appearances, such as 1996, the German Cripple Creek Band, 1998 Linda Feller or 2000 Tom Astor, both also from Germany.

Former and current members