If you’re going to be considered a country music star, you can’t do it without having performed at least once at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. The weekly stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee has been running since 1925, and by now it’s considered the gold standard honor for musicians looking to break big in the business.
Which is why it’s definitely time to put the Opry itself on center stage! And that’s exactly what’s happening on Sunday, Feb. 14, as Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley are set to host a special on NBC: “Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music,” which will honor the show and the stars that call the Opry home.Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton, both members of the Grand Ole Opry, will host the NBC special.Chris Hollo / Grand Ole Opry
According to a news release sent to TODAY on Tuesday, the show will look at the past, present and future of both the show and of country music, featuring a mix of legends and contemporary chart-toppers. Stars will perform their biggest hits (no, no names have been announced yet), and the Opry is opening its archives from the past nine decades to showcase performances, interviews an appearances by country artists throughout their careers.Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner (both members of the Opry) perform on the big stage in 1978.Michael Mauney / The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
The Opry started out as a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville on Nov. 28, 1925. It was a one-hour “barn dance” on WSM radio, and stands as the longest-running musical radio broadcast in US history. The show features country, bluegrass, Americana, folk and gospel music alongside comedy performances and skits. It began airing on NBC radio in 1939, and moved to the Ryman Auditorium in 1943.Hank Williams Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps at the Opry … though his dad was dismissed from membership in 1952 for missing shows.Katherine Bomboy / NBC
One step up from appearing on the stage is an invitation to become a member of the Opry. Shelton has been a member for 10 years; Paisley 20. When Opry management chooses to induct a new member, they traditionally ask existing member to publicly ask them to join — usually during a live episode. Becoming a member is considered like joining a hall of fame.You don’t have to sing country to appear at the Opry: Here’s Tom Jones performing in 1985.Beth Gwinn / Getty Images
The “Opry” can be heard every week live on Opry.com and WSMOnline.com, their related mobile apps, SiriusXM and 650 AM-WSM.
You can tune into “Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music” on Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. And stay tuned for any updates we get about performers!