Remember When Reba McEntire Debuted on the Grand Ole Opry?
McEntire was just another aspiring country star in the early days of her career when she got invited to perform on the Opry on Sept. 17, 1977. In fact, when she got to the venue, a guard refused to admit her backstage when he couldn't find her name on his list. McEntire had to call her booking agent on a pay phone to get the situation rectified in time to perform.
The 22-year-old performed a cover of Roger Miller’s “Invitation to the Blues,” from her self-titled debut album, and her family drove more than 700 miles from Oklahoma to witness her big debut first-hand, according to the Boot.
McEntire was slated to sing two songs, and was planning a cover of the Patsy Cline classic "Sweet Dreams," but that got cut due to a surprise appearance from Opry member Dolly Parton, who turned up unannounced to perform.
"Dolly came walking in, and she was like a vision," McEntire recalls to Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper. "It was worth the drive from Oklahoma just to see Dolly."
McEntire became an Opry member during a splashy TV special to celebrate the Opry's 60th anniversary in 1986, and she still performs on the sacred stage when her schedule permits.
"The Grand Ole Opry is a home," she says. "It’s a family. It’s like a family reunion, when you come back and get to see everybody."
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