A little lesson in country music history -- it's all about perspective. The Grand Ole Opry -- the radio show made famous by WSM since 1925 -- has had several homes over the years, with possibly the most iconic one being the Ryman Auditorium, which housed the show from 1943-1974, as well as during the winter months today. However, on March 16, 1974, four decades ago this weekend, the show moved to the Grand Ole Opry House located just north of Nashville.
What was that about perspective, you ask? Well, even after staying at its' current home for nine years longer than the Ryman, many still refer to the venue as the "New" Opry House!
However you might refer to it, the Opry is celebrating this weekend in a big way, with a 7 p.m. and 9:30 show on Saturday night that will feature longtime members such as Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, and Bobby Osborne, but also current hitmakers Blake Shelton, Josh Turner, and Miranda Lambert. (Everyone on the lineup sans Lambert, with the exception of newcomers Green River Ordinance, are members of the show -- Might that be a hint about a future induction invitation? We'll have to wait and see.)
The Opry performance caps off an exciting day of celebration that begins with a 5K Run & Walk hosted by WSM AM 650, a book signing of the Dan Rogers / Brenda Colladay book Backstage At The Grand Ole Opry, which gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the show, and an Opry House Yo-Yo Thon, which will benefit Hands On Nashville and the Habitat For Humanity of Greater Nashville. It was during the Opry's inaugural broadcast from the Opry House in 1974 that Roy Acuff gave President Richard Nixon a famous yo-yo lesson. Nixon also performed "God Bless America" on the Opry stage that night.
Enjoy this trip back in time to the "New" Opry House on Billboard.com:
For more information about the show, log on to www.Opry.com