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31 Years Ago: Reba McEntire Joins the Grand Ole Opry

Reba McEntire
Spencer Platt, Hulton Archive / Getty Images

On this day, 31 years ago (Jan. 17, 1986), Reba McEntire fulfilled a lifelong dream by becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

McEntire’s induction was part of a big milestone for the Opry: The Oklahoma native became an official member of the revered organization during a televised special honoring the Grand Ole Opry’s 60th anniversary. But while most people were in a celebratory mood that evening, one country artist, Hank Snow, boycotted the show after producers limited him to one verse of his hit “I’m Moving On.”

Still, McEntire didn’t let the off-screen drama affect her big night. She even returned to the famous stage three days later to perform her newest single, “Whoever’s in New England,” which became her fifth No. 1 hit.

McEntire’s induction into the hallowed hall came nine years after she made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 1977. That evening, she was originally planning on performing two songs, but her time on stage was reduced to one song due to an unexpected appearance by Dolly Parton.

McEntire has said that the Grand Ole Opry is still one of her favorite places to perform.

“The Grand Ole Opry is a home,” the country legend says. “It’s a family. It’s like a family reunion, when you come back and get to see everybody.”

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