NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Grand Ole Opry is one of Music City's most enduring icons. Membership into the exclusive club is an acknowledgment of the pinnacle of success in the country music industry. But with any honor, some artists get overlooked. These snubs will have you scratching your head.
How can the man known as the "King of Country" not be part of the elite club? Strait, whose career catapulted in the 1980s, has more number one songs than any other artist in any music genre. He's also among America's top 15 best-selling album recording artists, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
Did Tim get passed over because of his venture out of country and into the silver screen? The singer and actor has racked up plenty of awards over the past two decades, including three Grammys, 14 ACMs, 11 CMAs, and ten AMAs.
We can't forget about McGraw's hugely successful partner in music and in life. The couple's Soul2Soul II Tour in 2006 became the highest-grossing country tour of all time. But Faith has shown she can do this on her own: Billboard named the five-time Grammy Award winner the number one Adult Contemporary Artist of the 2000s.
Since 1969, Alabama has produced songs you know by heart. Their first single "Tennessee River" quickly shot to number one, and the band's popularity soared with hits like "Dixieland Delight," "Mountain Music," "Song of the South" and more. And Alabama's not done yet. They just extended their 50th Anniversary tour, which runs through this November.
Some will no doubt say that Lady Antebellum hasn't been around long enough to be enshrined. However, recent inductions of Luke Combs and Chris Janson prove that longevity is not a requirement. Lady A has multiple CMAs and ACMs, as well as a Grammy, and nine number one singles.
If you prefer your Opry members to have a few more years under their belts, look no further than Shenandoah. The Muscle Shoals group had a remarkable run of success in the late 80s and early 90s, charting 26 singles with five number one hits. Their mantles aren't bare either with a CMA, an ACM, and a Grammy to their name.
Two female artists debuted in 2005 with decade-defining albums - Miranda Lambert with "Kerosene" and Carrie Underwood with "Some Hearts." While Carrie's experience on American Idol may have given her the early push, Lambert has built an impressive resume on her own including becoming in 2018 the most awarded artist in ACM history. There is no reason that there's not enough room on the Opry's fabled stage for both these performers.
We could mention the five number ones. We could mention the 30 year career. We could mention how he helped bring downhome twang back into country music. We could even mention how he's managed to stay current with a younger generation of country fans through his association with Big and Rich and the MuzikMafia. But we feel his contribution to country music is best summed up in four words: "Just a swingin..."
Brooks & Dunn
Are you kidding me? Brooks and Dunn are accomplished performers in their own right but together they are the Ruth and Gehrig of country music. 20 number 1 singles, an unprecedented 14 CMAs for vocal duo of the year (would have been 15 straight if not for Montgomery Gentry n 2000), and a couple of Grammys to boot. Speaking of boots, "Boot Scootin' Boogie" helped turn line dancing into a national craze.
Maybe we should give the Opry a break. After all, we almost forgot to include the legendary Tanya Tucker on our list. The child star-turned-cautionary-tale-turned-triumphant-comeback-artist spans the decades from country's Hee-Haw era to its modern crossover success. If anyone embodies the spirit of Nashville through the years, it's Ms. Tucker.
The Opry explains the process on its website , saying in part...
"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."