Nashville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Forty-one years ago today, March 16, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon and his wife, Pat, attended the opening of the new Grand Ole Opry House here in Music City. The new home of Radio Station WSM's weekly broadcast was the first built especially for the Opry.
The opening, which was performed before a standing-room-only audience, also marked the first time a President of the United States had attended the Opry.
Mr. Nixon could not pass up the opportunity to show off his talents on the ivory. He played 'My Wild Irish Rose,' 'God Bless America,' and in honor of his wife's birthday, 'Happy Birthday.'
The Grand Ole Opry was founded on November 28, 1925 by George D. Hay** who gave what would become the longest running radio broadcast of all time its name when he introduced an act on December 10, 1927 which followed a classical music broadcast. Mr. Hay said...
"For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on, we will present the Grand Ole Opry."
On June 5, 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville where it would remain until the new Opry House was opened in 1974. The Ryman came to be called the 'Mother Church of Country Music.'
*Roy Claxton Acuff (1903-1992) was born in Maynardville, TN. He was a graduate of Central High School in Knoxville, TN. where he was a 3 sport standout. Turning down a scholarship at Carson Newman College, RCA began his music career singing & playing fiddle with the Smoky Mountain Boys.
In 1942, Roy co-founded the Acuff-Rose Music Company in Nashville & in 1962 became the first living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Roy Acuff is known as the King of Country Music.
Roy Claxton Acuff