HomeEntertainmentMusicDierks Bentley Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut On This Day 18 Years Ago

Dierks Bentley Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut On This Day 18 Years Ago

by Katie Maloney
(Photo By: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The Grand Ole Opry isn’t going to let Dierks Bentley forget the first time he performed on its stage.

Country star Dierks Bentley rose to fame after landing his first number one hit song in 2003 with “What Was I Thinkin.” Shortly after the success of the song, Dierks was invited to perform for the first time ever at the Grand Ole Opry. Most of you already know this, but for anyone who doesn’t, the Grand Ole Opry is like the mothership of country music. If a musician plays there, their careers are written in country music stone. So, his invite was a big deal.

And don’t think for a second that the Grand Ole Opry has forgotten about Dierks. It certainly has not. In fact, today, it shared a photo of Dierk’s 2003 performance on Twitter. Along with the photo, the Opry wrote, “18 years ago today, @DierksBentley made his debut on the Opry stage. That night, he said, “This really is a dream come true.” Remember this night, Dierks?”

Dierks Bentley retweeted the post and wrote “One of the best days of my life.”

Dierks Bentley’s ‘What Was I Thinkin’ Was Inspired By a Woman He Met at the Grand Ole Opry

“What Was I Thinkin'” reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart in September of 2003 and catapulted Bentley to fame. Two years after his debut at the Opry, he was inducted by Marty Stuart. However, Dierks was actually banned from the Opry years before his debut performance.

According to the Opry’s website, long before he hit it big as a musician, Dierks worked at the Nashville Network which was located on the grounds of Opryland where the Opry House was located. Dierks would stay late on weekends and slip into the backstage at the Opry to hang around and visit with the musicians. He did this so frequently, that the Opry actually banned him from the grounds. The website also states that Dierks Bentley’s “What Was I Thinkin” was inspired by a woman he met while he was working around the Opry.

Luckily, the ban didn’t stick and Dierks returned to the Opry for his performance in 2003.

Dierks Returned to the Opry For Its 95th Anniversary

But Dierks Bentley’s debut at the Opry certainly wasn’t his last time at the venue. Country star Dierks Bentley returned to The Grand Ole Opry in 2020 for its 95th-anniversary celebration. Dierks joined Vince Gill and Lorrie Morgan for the celebration concert. Although the venue didn’t allow audiences, The Grand Ole Opry found ways to remain open during the pandemic. For 29 weeks during the lockdown, the venue maintained its record of 4,940 consecutive Saturday night broadcasts by hosting musicians for virtual concerts. The shows were streamed on Circle All Access YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook as well as Circle TV , SiriusXM, WSM-AM, and other outlets.

Before his performance, Dierks introduced himself with a simple, “It’s great to be back with you guys. Thanks for being here.”

He performed his 2018 hit “Burning Man,” and a hit song by Faron Young, “Going Steady.”

“The Opry asked us to go back and choose a song that inspired us,” said Dierks. “And I always loved Faron Young..so this one is called ‘Going Steady.'”

Dierks Bentley performed at the Grand Ole Opry’s 95th anniversary celebration.