NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – The Grand Ole Opry reached a milestone in 2021. Late last month, the nation’s longest-running radio show aired its 5,000th Saturday night performance. As part of the celebration, you can see some of the most treasured country music memorabilia that is currently on display at the Roy Acuff House until the end of the year.
WSM “Loudspeaker cone”
Originally attached to the side of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, the massive loudspeaker was used to broadcast the tunes of the Grand Ole Opry through the streets of Nashville. The loudspeaker cone would be one of the many technologies that WSM would implement to broadcast its waves to the masses. In the 1900s, WMS was one of the first radio shows to be broadcast online through its YAHOO Relay Box.
“We have a space dedicated to WSM and the innovative technology they have brought to the world of radio,” said Emily Frans, director of archives and content at Opry.
Grand Ole Opry Song Folio by Bill Monroe (1947)
Bill Monroe’s WSM Song Folio No. 1 offers a blast from the past. Her debut songbook gave fans the lyrics and music for 21 songs.
Monroe will release two more songbooks, including Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Songs and his WSM Ole Opry Song Folio No. 2.
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In the 1930s, Monroe helped form the Monroe Brothers, which later changed their course. Monroe went on to form The Blue Grass Boys and was known to have given his roots to the genre.
Dolly Parton’s dazzling golden dress (1988)
An exhibit of country music memorabilia wouldn’t be complete without a bit of glitz and glamor from the Country Queen.
In 1988, Parton recorded an episode of her series “Dolly” at the Opry House, where she performed with Porter Wagoner. You can see the dress she wore on display at the Opry 5000 exhibition up close.
Dolly’s dress isn’t the only one on display. Guests can also check out the dresses that Trisha Yearwood and Carly Pearce debuted at Opry at the Opry 5000 show.
“It’s so funny, I think people have expectations in their minds of maybe the size of an artist,” Frans explained. “I actually just heard someone say Patsy Cline a short while ago, she was so little and stuff like that. So it’s still really cool.
Marty Robbins protective helmet (1970s)
Country icon Marty Robbins was known for his music, but when he wasn’t behind the mic he needed speed as a part-time NASCAR driver. The bespoke helmet had a strap bolted to the left side for stabilization and to compensate for the weight of the helmet. When Robbins moved to Nashville to launch his music career, he became a regular runner at the Nashville Fairgrounds. According to ESPN, Robbins made 35 starts in the NASCAR Premier Division.
Bill Anderson’s jacket (1966)
Bill Anderson made his Opry debut in 1959 and recently celebrated 60 years of membership in July 2021. Anderson became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and is one of the most awarded songwriters in history. country music.
The South Carolina native still lives on Old Hickory Lake in Nashville and performs at the Grand Ole Opry. His embroidered jacket now on display at the Grand Ole Opry was just one of many avant-garde coats in which he performs regularly.
Carly Pearce’s first set (2015)
Speaking of fashion, country music fans can get a close look at the dress and boots Kentucky native Carly Pearce wore when she debuted at Opry. Frans explained how Pearce’s boots had special meaning on the night of his debut. Pearce’s parents told her she could wear them when she took the Opry stage. Since then, Pearce has had plenty of opportunities to shatter them with the dozens of times she has performed at the Grand Ole Opry.
Luke Combs guitar (2020)
Luke Combs left his mark on audiences around the world when he participated in Opry’s “Pandemic Performances” in April 2020. Combs performed “Six Feet Apart” in an empty house with his Gibson SJ-200 guitar. Her performance was one of many over a 29-week streak where the artists’ musical talents were put to the test without full band support or immediate interaction with their fans.