If you’re looking to surprise any country music enthusiast, tell them George Strait is not a Grand Ole Opry member.
As country music’s most hallowed venue and with Strait, often referred to as the “King of Country”—how is it possible that he’s not a member?
George Strait Not Recognized By Opry, Not For Lack Of Talent
As a Texan, Strait’s possibility to become a member never arose, not for a lack of talent but due to distance.
For decades, members have long been expected to make regular appearances on the Nashville stage. The longstanding requirement even cost some artists their membership if they didn’t meet a certain number of performances.
However, today, the Opry doesn’t place as much pressure on the artists when meeting performance requirements.
After the television special celebrating the Grand Ole Opry’s 95th Anniversary aired, fans started wondering if Strait has ever played the Opry.
According to the Opry’s website, it includes Strait’s name, but there’s no information on him. In addition, there’s no photo of him or date when he would have taken the stage.
On the special, they included a segment about star’s debuts on the stage, but didn’t mention Strait.
However, according to Grand Ole Opry historian and archivist Byron Fay, it turns out Strait has made only one Opry appearance in late 1982.
“George Strait was on the Opry Saturday, October 9, 1982. On the early show, he was on the 8:30 segment and on the late show, he was on at 11:00. That appears to have been the only time he was on the Opry,” Fay revealed.
Fay also added that despite the rumors over the years, nothing was ever publicly acknowledged. Strait’s lack of Opry appearances was because he lived in Texas and not Tennessee.
His one appearance came when Hal Durham was the head of the Opry.
During his performance, he promoted his album, Straight from the Heart, which he released after he dropped “Marina Del Rey.”
Fellow Country Singer & Texan Also Not Opry Member
However, Strait wasn’t the only Texas country legend to have a lack of Opry performances. Fellow Texan and country singer Willie Nelson is also not a member, even though the Opry inducted him in 1965.
However, Nelson eventually gave up his membership once he moved back to Texas in 1972.
“In order to say you’re a member of the Grand Ole Opry, which is a great honor, you had to be there 26 weeks out of the year,” Willie said. “You can’t play in Texas on Friday and get back to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night. It just don’t work out that way.”