Seriously? They *Aren’t* Members of the Grand Ole Opry?

Seriously? They *Aren’t* Members of the Grand Ole Opry?

Last week, I had a chance to see a benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame at which Keith Urban was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. I was a little shocked at the time to find out he wasn’t already a member. But I guess being married to Nicole Kidman is not a bad consolation prize.

Tuesday night, I was watching a rerun of the Grand Ole Opry and got to wondering who actually WAS a member of the Opry. Being perhaps the highest honor in Country Music, I figured the roster would be filled with A+++ stars and be a relatively short list. I was right…for the most part.

The more I looked at the membership the more puzzled I became. I found three or four names of modern artists that somewhat surprised me. And also found a few glaring omissions.

I won’t list the names of the ones I found surprising. But you can find a complete list of the members here.

As for the ones who are not members, I present my personal list of candidates worthy for consideration.

  • Alabama
  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Sam Bush
  • Glen Campbell
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Merle Haggard
  • Faith Hill
  • The Judds
  • Toby Keith
  • Tim McGraw
  • Kenny Rogers
  • George Strait

You could also argue for the inclusion of recent superstars like Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, and, of course, Taylor Swift. But with their relative newness to the scene, I understand their omission.

Does anyone on that list surprise you?


  1. ScottE says

    If you go to the Opry’s official list on their home page, you will see that people like Hank Williams and Johnny Paycheck are not official members. Neither are Waylon nor Merle.

    • jphowe72 says


      Hank and Johnny are. You can find them on the list of members in the link above. Hank Jr. is not…but that’s another blog post. 😉

      I listed Merle as an omission but you’re right about Waylon. He should be on that list as well.

      • Sc says

        Sorry, I missed that you listed Merle above.

        Also, you’re late is to a Wikipedia page and it does list Hank and Johnny. But if you reference the official Grand ol Opry members list on their website, they list Johnny as a guest and do not list Hank Sr at all.

        If I recall correctly, Hank was “kicked out.” there has been a push recently to have him reinstated but apparently to no avail. I suppose his Lonesome Whistle continues to blow.

        • jphowe72 says

          SO yes, Hank got the boot, but he was at least “in” at one point. More than we can say for the rest. Appreciate the comments

  2. Bucky Elliott says

    I’m surprised by all of them, but especially Merle, Glen, Judds, Willie, Kenny, Earl, and George. They’re legends.

    • Jkwallis88 says

      Screw the grand ol opry its full of a bunch of pop singers that wouldn’t know a good song if it bit em in the ass. What has country music come to?

  3. Jay says

    Well these are all good name but I would guarantee that these names are on the petition to reinstate hank Williams sr. So there you have it in a nut shell who ever signs the petition doesn’t get into the opry.

  4. Pjacobs says

    What about Sara Evans? She is a chart topping legend as well and in my opinion is often underscored compared to Carrie, Faith, and Martina. But, when she puts out a song they can easily turn into number one hits and she has some of the most memorable songs in country music I.e “Born to Fly”, “Suds in the bucket”, “As if”, and her most current hit “A Little Bit Stronger”. I love Carrie Underwood to death and am a huge fan but she was asked to be a member only after a few years of her career. Sara has been around since the 90’s and i think is deserving of the honor to being invited to the opry.

  5. Jack Hussey says

    Buck Owens said that they play there little games. Why wasn’t Charley Collins ever in the membership line up ?? Why did it have to take so long for Carl Smith to get in ?? Oh yes I think it had something to do with June Carter and Johnny Cash ?? They had to be gone before Carl Smith could be let in ?? Playing games ???

  6. countrydarts says

    Artists must “earn” it by appearing frequently, and also must maintain it by continue to appear frequently (10-12 times a year)

  7. Adam S. says

    You mention the reason Hank Williams isn’t a member is worthy of a blog post of its own. This is something I have wondered about for years and tried unsuccessfully to determine. Could you shed some light on the issue?

  8. glen sobchyshyn says

    hank sr was a member so was johnny as for taylor she is not country it is a mystery why alabama ;george willie kenny are not there merle has been asked but has politely declined; why was buck or conway never members my quess to much jealousy. well known fact that certain members kept elvis and bluegrass great jimmy martin

  9. Betsy says

    Most of the ones mentioned. I.e George strait are not members by their own choosing.George did not want to commit to the 10-12 shows a year commitment. Even tho most of the recent opry members do not perform more than 2-3 times a year. I respect them more for bowing out the accepting and not fufilling the commitment.

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