The Grand Ole Opry has long been the premier place for country musicians. Some of the most famous musicians who have played at the Opry, though, are not members of it. The members of the Opry are chosen based on their music and enduring success. According to the Grand Ole Opry website, “There’s no magic formula, no secret code that grants access to one of the most coveted invitations in all of music.”
In my opinion, though, there are some significant artists over the past few generations who have been overlooked. Here is my pick for the top ten country music stars who should be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry:
Shania Twain – Shania Twain was one of the first of many successful crossover artists. Her 1997 album Come on Over is still the best selling country album ever produced. This album is also the best selling album for a female. She also has 5 Grammy awards to her name as well as numerous other recognitions and awards.Toby Keith – Toby Keith has had a lot of commercial success since his debut album in 1993. His hit “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” was the most popular country music song of the 1990’s for radio play, with an estimated 50 million plays from 1993-1999. 40 singles have charted over the years, including 18 singles making the number one spot and 17 other top ten hits.
Dixie Chicks – The Dixie Chicks have the title of highest-grossing female band, having sold more than 30.5 million albums. They have won 13 Grammy awards, including an Album of the Year award in 2007 for their album Taking the Long Way.
Rascal Flatts – Having 6 studio albums under their belt in only 9 years, Rascal Flatts has not had an album that has not at least hit double platinum. From those 6 albums, there have been 24 top-40 country hits, including 10 that attained the number one status.
Faith Hill – In her career, Faith Hill has sold over 35 million albums. On top of this she has had 8 number one hits, 3 number one albums. She has been given honors from the Grammy’s, Country Music Association and even the People’s Choice Awards.
Leann Rimes – Leann Rimes has had cross over success since she started her career at the age of 13 with the song Blue, reminiscent of the vocal style of Patsy Cline. She has won numerous awards including Gramys, AMA and CMA awards. Her music continues to evolve and she has an exciting career to this day.
Tim McGraw – With over forty million in sales, Tim McGraw is one of the most versatile and successful modern country musicians around. He is marries to Faith Hill and together they have produced some of the most well known duets. He has won three Grammys, CMA, AMA and People’s Choice awards.
David Allan Coe – From ballads to humorous songs, this beloved singer/songwriter reached the peak of his fame in the 1980’s. However, he continues to write and perform to this day with nearly 300 original songs to his credit. I think he is one of the most underrated and underappreciated country artists of the day.
Johnny Cash – For as many times as Johnny Cash has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, it is surprising that he is not a member of it. He is one of the most enduring singers and even after his death he still has a vast following. There is no music fan around who is not familiar with this artist and it is an omission that should be rectified.
Willie Nelson – This singer/songwriter began his career in 1956 and continues to this day. He has some of the most well known hits throughout the decades and is famous for not only his music but his political beliefs. Willie Nelson was once a part of the Grand Ole Opry but is no more. I think he should be.