Charlie Daniels, who became a treasured icon in both rock and country music, culminated his success when he became inducted into the Grand Ole’ Opry in 2008.
Martina McBride delivered the surprise invitation to join the list of country music legends during his annual “Christmas For Kids” benefit show at the Ryman Auditorium. At the time, Daniels was 71-years-old.
The curtains were pulled to reveal the Opry’s classic barn backdrop paired with an Opry microphone stand in the center stage. Daniels performed the rest of the benefit show in front of the famous backdrop.
“Tonight will be frozen in my mind as one of the most special nights in my life, absolutely,” he said afterward.
“The first radio show I consciously remember listening to is the Grand Ole Opry,” said Daniels.
Growing up in North Carolina, Daniels spoke of how his entire neighborhood tuned into the show. “We could tell you what Minnie Pearl said or what song Webb Pierce sang. It was a rite of passage on a Saturday night.”
Charlie Daniels’ Reveals The Moment He Fell In Love With Nashville
There’s no doubt it was a long time coming for the late, great musician. As a teenager, he remembered sitting in Ryman Auditorium’s Confederate Balcony with a group of friends. He attended two shows, then going to the Midnite Jamboree across Broadway at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.
“We had one of the greatest times of our lives,” he says.
After falling in love with Nashville’s country music culture, Daniels moved to the city and became a session player.
In addition, he appeared on records by Opry stars, including Marty Robbins and Flatt & Scruggs. He also appeared alongside other greats, including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Ringo Starr. He ultimately made his Opry debut as a member of the Earl Scruggs Revue.
“Going out on those airwaves that I’d listened to so many times was such a legendary thing,” he says. “It was like a Cinderella moment.”
Acting as the leader of the Charlie Daniels Band, he created a name for himself with songs like “Uneasy Rider,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” and “The South’s Gonna Do It Again.”
On radio stations, his songs were well received by both fans and critics alike, appearing on both country and rock airwaves.
“To be able to be a member and to have my name linked with my heroes is some pretty heady stuff for a guy that loves music and loves the Grand Ole Opry as much as I do,” he says.