WATCH: What Does It Really Take to Become a Grand Ole Opry Member?
Hint: It takes a lot more than strong record sales to become an inductee.
Nashville's, and perhaps country music's, most famous stage has long been the Grand Ole Opry. The historic live radio show started in the 1920s and has counted members ranging from Patsy Cline and Don Williams to Carrie Underwood and Darius Rucker in its ranks.
But what, exactly, does it take to become a member of country music's most exclusive club? Contrary to what you may think, there's no records sold or number one hits quota required to join the Opry's esteemed fold. "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," reads a statement on the Opry's website. Of course, the Opry considers "all the standards of success in country music," like radio airplay, touring success, and awards, but they also look for those ever-elusive je ne sais quoi qualities.
"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," the statement continues.
While there's no special rule that requires artists perform at the Opry a certain number of times to earn membership, once you gain membership, there's no guarantee it will be lifelong. Hank Williams, for example, famously got his Opry membership revoked by management due to his drinking problem and being a no-show at scheduled performances. For more on everything you wanted to know about becoming a Grand Ole Opry Member, read The Boot's in-depth analysis here.
So management, we've spun our Dolly Parton records three million times and embarked on many a country music concert pilgrimage across state lines...will you consider our ballot for membership?