Southern SoundsMarch 14, 2014
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The radio show that made country music famous first hit airwaves in 1925. Back then it was just a weekly one-hour “barn dance” put out by station WSM in Nashville on Saturday nights. Today, the Grand Ole Opry is among the longest running broadcasts in history, occupying reverential space in the canon of American music. Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, even Elvis Presley (though he famously only played the Opry once) have all performed. This weekend, the Opry celebrates the 40th anniversary of its move to its current space east of downtown. It left the historic Ryman Auditorium in 1974 after the show’s popularity demanded a larger venue—but not before taking a six-foot circle of oak from center stage and installing it in its new home.