There’s no magic formula, no secret code that grants access to one of the most coveted invitations in all of music. The decision to increase the Opry’s ranks is, and always has been, made exclusively by the show’s management. The people who’ve been entrusted with the Opry’s tradition and future direction take into account all the standards of success in country music – radio airplay, album and ticket sales, industry recognition – when considering an act for membership. The Opry considers career accomplishment, as well as the potential for continued success.
But the Opry doesn’t simply pass out invitations to the biggest stars with the most hits. Opry management looks for a musical and a generational balance. Opry membership requires a passion for country music’s fans, a connection to the music’s history. And it requires commitment – even a willingness to make significant sacrifices to uphold that commitment. Often, the Opry seeks out those who seek out the Opry, though decisions aren’t based on which artists appear most on the show, either.
The decision to bring a new act into the Opry fold is a two-pronged one, based on a combination of career accomplishment and commitment. But, really, it comes down to just one word: relationships. The relationships between performers and fans. The relationships Opry members have with each other, relationships that may last for decades. And, perhaps most importantly, the relationship between each artist and the ideal of the Grand Ole Opry. Because it’s the new members that guarantee the future success of the Opry. Yesterday’s bright young talents have now become legends. And today’s superstars will become icons to future generations. Each new member adds another chapter to the Opry story, and their commitments, their relationships, have made the Opry endure for 80 years strong.
The induction nights are a magical affair. GACtv and CMT have been running Carrie Underwood's music video which includes her invitation from Randy Travis heavily all spring long. Our favorite recent induction, however, is the long-overdue selection of Charlie Daniels. Watch HERE, as Charlie Daniels is inducted by Opry General Manager Pete Fisher and Opry members Marty Stuart and Connie Smith as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium on January 19, 2008.