It is fully remembered that 41 years ago today, September 17, 1977, Reba McEntire marked her first Grand Ole Opry appearance. A day that she will definitely never forget, it was fulfilling a dream that she’d had since her very first visit to the Opry when she was just seven years old.
The country icon, who was just 22 years old then, performed and sang a cover of Roger Miller’s “Invitation to the Blues,” from her eponymous debut album. Excited and delighted, McEntire’s family drove more than 700 miles from Oklahoma to see her perform. Initially, she got to sing two songs. However, her time on stage was cut short the last minute. Surprisingly, there was an appearance by Opry member Dolly Parton.
In an interview with Nashville’s Tennessean, McEntire says:
“Dolly came walking in, and she was like a vision. It was worth the drive from Oklahoma just to see Dolly.”
In a reminiscence, McEntire recalled that she almost did not get to perform Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams.” When a guard mistakenly couldn’t find her name on the guest list, he refused to allow her admittance to the Opry. Hence, the young songstress had to look for a pay phone just to contact her booking agent. Luckily, he answered and got her into the video just in time.
Interestingly, McEntire’s Opry debut happened 30 years after her father, Clark McEntire, earned his first rodeo award.
Nine years later, in 1986, McEntire officially became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In a televised special honoring the Opry’s 60th anniversary, McEntire was inducted. Nowadays, she still performs on the revered stage whenever her schedule permits.
In a delightful manner, McEntire reveals what the Opry means to her heart. She says:
“The Grand Ole Opry is a home. It’s a family. It’s like a family reunion when you come back and get to see everybody.”
Watch Reba McEntire reflects on her Grand Ole Opry debut:
Watch McEntire sing “Somebody Should Leave” on her Opry induction in 1986:
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