The four-and-a-half hour show became one of the most popular shows in the South and launched the careers of many famous names such as Gene Autry. The show began just five years after commercial radio emerged in the U.S. National Life Insurance Company built a radio station as a public service …. the call letters WSM stand for their motto of “We Shield Millions”.
The music was geared toward instrumental. Vocalists took a back seat to musicians until Roy Acuff's performance in 1938 of “The Great Speckled Bird” forever changed the Opry.
In 1954, Elvis Presley played the Opry, only to be told by the manager that he should return to Memphis and resume his truck driving career, prompting Elvis to never return. However, Garth Brooks commented that the greatest thrill about playing on the Opry was knowing that he played on the same stage as Elvis.
|Grand Ole Opry's first Carnegie |
Hall appearance in 1947
In 1947, Ernest Tubb took a troupe of Opry singers to Carnegie Hall and just two years later, more Opry stars went on a European tour of military bases.
Being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry’s Hall of Fame, the oldest and most enduring hall of fame, marks an artist as one of the elite of country music.