Patsy Cline Broke a Major Grand Ole Opry Tradition But Got Accepted Anyway: Here’s What Happened

by Madison Miller

There’s a couple of rules and traditions when it comes to being a part of the Grand Ole Opry. Becoming a part of the Opry is a huge achievement. Some of the most iconic country artists were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and it remains one of the most prestigious honors an artist in the genre can obtain.

However, the Opry has kicked members out for poor behavior in the past, such as Hank Williams.

One of the unknown traditions is also that the Grand Ole Opry asks an artist to join, not the other way around.

Patsy Cline, however, did not get the memo.

Cline Asks to Join Opry

Like an exclusive club, the Grand Ole Opry takes pride in hand-selecting their artists.

According to Country Rebel, on January 9, 1960, Cline broke this unsaid rule by asking to become a member. Many artists have performed at the Opry without becoming official members. Cline, for example, had started performing at the Opry in 1955, five years before officially becoming a member.

She became the first and the only performer to join the Opry by request. She did not create a pattern for others to follow.

Patsy Cline would remain a member of the Grand Ole Opry until she died from a plane crash on March 5, 1963, at the age of 30.

Cline was used to breaking the mold, pushing boundaries, and having a fierce can-do attitude. She often performed on stage wearing stylish pants. This was more unheard of in the ’50s and ’60s when women were still abiding by the unspoken rule of wearing modest dresses.

The women’s rights movement of the ’70s is really when women started to break out of this mold. Patsy Cline, however, pushed style boundaries with her red lipstick, high heels, and overall tough personality.

Patsy Cline Museum

There was a line Cline said at a show that remains popular, “No dough, no show.”

Before getting on stage one day she said this to demand that her money from performing went to her. This was during a time when managers and promoters stole money from their artists, especially women. Cline was the first woman to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall and to receive billing over a male country artist.

A couple of years ago, a museum opened on Nashville’s Third Avenue dedicated to Patsy Cline. There are a collection of outfits, records, videos, artifacts, and personal objects. There are even replicas of her Nashville home, done up in its mid-century modern style. This is one of the most popular aspects, especially now as the mid-century decor has become trendy again.

The museum even has the wristwatch that Cline was wearing when the plane crashed.

Patsy Cline was credited with the creation of the pop-infused country sound known as the “Nashville Sound.” She sat stylishly at the top of the pop charts.

H/T: Forbes