On May 3, 12:35 am, Michael Pendragon
Post by Michael Pendragon Post by The Bloomfield Buddy
On May 2, 9:49 pm, Michael Pendragon
I'm not denying that he made millions (in 1950s dollars). Even if he
made trillions, it wouldn't change the fact that the sales were
largely limited to 10% of the population who's musical culture was
separate from that of the other 90% (mainstream culture).
Like you said, you've always had trouble with percentages.
Not every non-black person was white, and not every white person was
part of mainstream culture, especially when it came to music. Think
about Charles Emerson Winchester on MASH, listening only to classical
music and rudely mocking any pop music that was mentioned.
Yes, I know, but I like to round numbers off -- makes it easier for my
mathematically challenged mind to grasp.
Post by The Bloomfield Buddy
It's unlikely that even 50% of the American population was aware of
the popular music of the day in the early 50s.
I think you mean "it's likely."
I disagree. It was on the radio, on the tv, on Broadway, in
nightclubs, dinner theater, and in the movies. Apart from going to
baseball games, it was a big part of any available form of
Post by The Bloomfield Buddy
There were lots of pre
school kids who were too young to care, lots of senior citizens who
longed for their Jolson and Billy Murray records, lots of immigrants
who listened to their own cultural music, whether it be Latin, Opera,
Italian or whatever.
I discount the pre-schoolers and seniors -- both in Pop and R&B
groups, so it evens out.
Post by Michael Pendragon Post by The Bloomfield Buddy
Not to mention all the whites in most of the
south who were more interested in Webb Pierce and Hank Williams and
Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff then they were in Tony Bennett and Frank
Sinatra and Frankie Laine. The Grand Ole Opry WAS mainstream culture
for millions of peoiple in the south.
They may have been more interested in the hillbilly singers, but if
they participated in society, they were repeatedly exposed to Pop.
In society of places like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South
Carolina, etc....The Grand Ole Opry was it. Haven't you ever watched
"The Waltons?" Yes, they were aware of Bing Crosby, but they were also
well aware of Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb and especially Jimmy Davis's
"You Are My Sunshine."
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in
Nashville, Tennessee, that has presented the biggest stars of that
genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in
history since its beginnings November 28, 1925, as a one-hour radio
"barn dance" on WSM. Dedicated to honoring country music and its
history, the Opry showcases a mix of legends and contemporary chart-
toppers performing country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and comedic
performances and skits. Considered an American icon, it attracts
hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world and millions
of radio and Internet listeners. The Opry is "the show that made
country music famous" and has been called the "home of American
music" and "country’s most famous stage." The Grand Ole Opry is
owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
In the 1930s, the show began hiring professionals and expanded to four
hours; and WSM, broadcasting by then with 50,000 watts, made the
program a Saturday night musical tradition in nearly 30 states. In
1939, it debuted nationally on NBC Radio. The Opry moved to a
permanent home, the Ryman Auditorium, in 1943. As it developed in
importance, so did the city of Nashville, which became America's
"country music capital".
Membership in the Opry remains one of country music's crowning
achievements. Such country music legends as Hank Williams, Patsy
Cline, Roy Acuff, the Carter family, Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb, Kitty
Wells and Minnie Pearl became regulars on the Opry's stage (although
Williams was banned in 1952 due to frequent drunkenness). In recent
decades, the Opry has hosted such contemporary country stars as Dolly
Parton, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood,
Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Kellie Pickler and the
Dixie Chicks. Since 1974, the show has been broadcast from the Grand
Ole Opry House east of downtown Nashville and performances have been
sporadically televised in addition to the radio programs.
The Grand Ole Opry started as the WSM Barn Dance in the new fifth-
floor radio studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company
in downtown Nashville on November 28, 1925. On October 18, 1925,
management began a program featuring "Dr. Humphrey Bate and his string
quartet of old-time musicians." On November 2, WSM hired long-time
announcer and program director George D. "Judge" Hay, an enterprising
pioneer from the National Barn Dance program at WLS in Chicago, who
was also named the most popular radio announcer in America as a result
of his radio work with both WLS and WMC in Memphis, Tennessee. Hay
launched the WSM Barn Dance with 77-year-old fiddler Uncle Jimmy
Thompson on November 28, 1925, which is celebrated as the birth date
of the Grand Ole Opry.
Some of the bands regularly on the show during its early days included
Bill Monroe the Possum Hunters (with Dr. Humphrey Bate), the Fruit Jar
Drinkers, the Crook Brothers, the Binkley Brothers' Dixie Clodhoppers,
Uncle Dave Macon, Sid Harkreader, Deford Bailey, Fiddlin' Arthur
Smith, and the Gully Jumpers.
Judge Hay, however, liked the Fruit Jar Drinkers and asked them to
appear last on each show because he wanted to always close each
segment with "red hot fiddle playing." They were the second band
accepted on Barn Dance, with the Crook Brothers being the first. When
the Opry began having square dancers on the show, the Fruit Jar
Drinkers always played for them. In 1926, Uncle Dave Macon, a
Tennessee banjo player who had recorded several songs and toured the
vaudeville circuit, became its first real star.
 NameOn December 10, 1927 the phrase 'Grand Ole Opry' was first
uttered on-air. That night Barn Dance followed the NBC Red
Network's Music Appreciation Hour, which consisted of classical music
and selections from the Grand Opera genre with Walter Damrosch as
Master of Ceremonies (MC). That night Damrosch remarked that “there is
no place in the classics for realism,” In response Hay said
"Friends, the program which just came to a close was devoted to the
classics. Doctor Damrosch told us that there is no place in the
classics for realism. However, from here on out for the next three
hours, we will present nothing but realism. It will be down to earth
for the 'earthy'."
Hay then introduced DeFord Bailey, the man he had dubbed the
"Harmonica Wizard", with
"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'."
Bailey then stepped up to the mike to play "The Pan American Blues",
his song inspired by the Pan American, a L&N Railroad express/
 Larger venuesAs audiences for the live show increased, National
Life & Accident Insurance's radio venue became too small to
accommodate the hordes of fans. They built a larger studio, but it was
still not large enough. After several months with no audiences,
National Life decided to allow the show to move outside its home
offices. In October 1934, the Opry moved into then-suburban Hillsboro
Theatre (now the Belcourt); and then on June 13, 1936, to the Dixie
Tabernacle in East Nashville. The Opry then moved to the War Memorial
Auditorium, a downtown venue adjacent to the State Capitol. A 25-cent
admission was charged to try to curb the large crowds, but to no
avail. On June 5, 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium.
Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music"Top-charting
country music acts performed during the Ryman years, including Roy
Acuff, called the King of Country Music, Hank Williams, Webb Pierce,
Faron Young, Martha Carson, Lefty Frizzell, and many others.
One hour of the Opry was nationally-broadcast by the NBC Red Network
from 1939 to 1956; for much of its run, it aired one hour after the
program that had inspired it, National Barn Dance. The NBC segment,
originally known by the name of its sponsor, The Prince Albert Show,
was first hosted by Acuff, who was succeeded by Red Foley from 1946 to
1954. From October 15, 1955 to September 1956, ABC-TV aired a live,
hour-long television version once a month on Saturday nights
(sponsored by Ralston-Purina), pre-empting one hour of the then-90-
minute Ozark Jubilee. From 1955–57, Al Gannaway owned and produced
both The Country Show and Stars of the Grand Ole Opry, filmed programs
syndicated by Flamingo Films.
On October 2, 1954, a teenage Elvis Presley made his only Opry
performance. Although the audience reacted politely to his
revolutionary brand of rockabilly music, after the show he was told by
Opry manager Jim Denny that he ought to return to Memphis to resume
his truck-driving career, prompting him to swear never to return. In
an era when the Grand Ole Opry represented solely country music,
audiences did not accept Presley on the Opry because of his infusion
of rhythm and blues as well as his infamous body gyrations, which many
viewed as vulgar. In the 1990s, Garth Brooks was made a member of the
Opry and was credited with selling more records than any other singer
since Presley. Brooks commented that one of the best parts of playing
on the Opry was that he appeared on the same stage as Presley.