On This Day: Randy Travis Joins the Grand Ole Opry in 1986

by Emily Morgan
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Dec. 20 will forever be a monumental day for country music singer Randy Travis. On this day, 34 years ago, in 1986, his career reached a new milestone when the 27-year-old became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Leading up to Travis’ well-deserved induction, six months earlier, he released the album Storms of Life. The highly successful record produced four No. 1 hits, including “Diggin’ Up Bones,” which reached No. 1 a few weeks before the North Carolina native became a member.

Before he dropped his debut album Storms of Life, Travis also released the single “On the Other Hand,” in 1985.

Keith Whitley originally recorded the song, but Travis released it as a single, which peaked at No. 67 on Billboard. In 1986 Travis re-released “On the Other Hand,” just one year after its original release, and this time it went to No. 1 on the charts. 

Randy Travis Returns for 25th Anniversary Celebration

After 25 years of being a member of the highly respected organization, Travis was honored with a star-studded celebration in 2011. That night at the event, country music stars such as Josh Turner, John Anderson, and Carrie Underwood came together to pay tribute to his 25-year membership. In 2008 he would urge the Opry to invite his friend, Carrie Underwood, to be an inductee. 

“It’s amazing to me to be celebrating my 25th anniversary in the music business on this stage because of the way I grew up and what I grew up listening to,” Travis said during the emotional moment.  

That year Travis also released his Anniversary Celebration album, which included collaborations with country music’s biggest stars, such as Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, and George Jones. You can listen to the historic album on Amazon. 

Travis has not returned to the Grand Ole Opry stage to perform since suffering a stroke in 2013. In late September of 2015, he made his first return to the Opry in a surprise appearance. 

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