On This Day: Clint Black Makes Opry Debut in 1989 With Timeless Hit

by Emily Morgan
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If you know country music, you know Clint Black. An established alum of quintessential ’90s country, Black hit the Nashville scene in the late ’80s and has been crushing it ever since. In 1989, he cemented his path to stardom when he made his Grand Ole Opry debut on April 22. By the end of the decade, he would be leading the pack in country music. 

Before he made his way to the sacred stage, he had already released a series of hits like his first single, “A Better Man,” from his debut album Killin’ Time in February of 1989. As a result, when he made his Opry debut, he had established a loyal fan base. He performed “A Better Man,” and not a single person wasn’t on their feet by the end of his performance. He may have been a New Jersey native, but he was right at home in the hallowed Nashville venue. 

Months later, “A Better Man” would reach the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s “Hot Country Songs” chart, but Black wanted to do more. After “A Better Man,” he released “Killin’ Time,” “Nobody’s Home,” and “Walkin’ Away,” all of which reached the top spot. “Nothing’s News” also hit No. 3. 

Black’s debut album would be the launchpad he needed to prove himself as one of the genre’s most prominent new stars. After the wild success of the album, the organization inducted Black into the Grand Ole Opry just two years later, in 1991.

Clint Black Honors Opry With ‘This Old House’

Toady, Black hasn’t forgotten to be grateful for what the Opry gave him. He still frequently performs at the Nashville venue and says he still gets excited every time he walks out on stage. Yet, Black remains humble for the opportunity of “walking out into the halls and getting your picture taken and people wanting autographs. You see all the people that you know, and you also see fans. It’s that crazy feeling you get — there’s excitement backstage at the Opry.”

In 2019, Black paid his respects to the Grand Ole Opry when he released “This Old House.” The tribute track featured guest appearances from Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Cody Jinks, Sara Evans, Michael Ray, Darius Rucker, Travis Tritt, and Steve Wariner. 

The song, an unreleased recording from Killin’ Time, didn’t make the album due to time constraints. Yet, decades later, Black re-worked the song for his album Still Killin’ Time. The 2019 album also features another unreleased song: “No One Here for Me.”

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