When the great Charlie Daniels passed away in July 2020, he left behind a musical legacy that impacted country music, Southern rock, and bluegrass. This legacy features multiple hits, including "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," and membership with the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Daniels was also inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in January 2008, and the night he was invited continues to be a memorable moment.
Charlie Daniels' invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry came on an otherwise ordinary night in November 2007 when the singer and his band were playing the show at the Grand Ole Opry house in Nashville, Tennessee. In a video showing the special moment, the music legend was onstage addressing the crowd when someone walked up to him and informed him there was going to be an announcement. Opry member Martina McBride then appeared onstage to Daniels' surprise. As the crowd cheered her appearance, McBride explained that she had an early Christmas present for Daniels and handed him a box with a bow on top. She then opened the box and took out a card that she read to Daniels and the audience.
"Peace, joy, love, and wishes fulfilled. These are the timeless traditions of Christmas," said McBride. "Thank you, Charlie, for all you've done to make Christmas wishes come true for thousands of children through the years. Now it's time to make a wish come true for you. You're officially invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry."
After McBride extended that sacred invitation, Daniels stepped back in shock and then hugged McBride as the crowd cheered in excitement. The singer/songwriter then wiped away a few tears, gained his composure and shared how important the invitation is to him.
"When I was so young, when I first started listening to music, some of my first memories of music were happening right here where I'm standing right now," Daniels told the audience. "When I listen to all the greats of country music sing over the airwaves of WSM when I was a kid in North Carolina before I could even play a chord on a guitar, I never, ever in my wildest dreams -- when we came to Nashville, my precious wife, son and myself in 1967 with a twenty dollar bill and the clutch out of our car, I never dreamed that this would ever happen."
In addition to his classic hit, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Charlie Daniels and The Charlie Daniels Band are famous for "Uneasy Rider," "The South's Gonna Do It," "Long Haired Country Boy," "In America," "The Legend of Wooley Swamp," a version of "Sweet Home Alabama," "Still In Saigon," and many more tracks. Daniel also founded Volunteer Jam in 1974, a concert that took place in Nashville, Tennessee every year from 1974 through 1987 and then sporadically through 2018. Volunteer Jam XXI: A Tribute to Charlie is set to take place August 18, 2021 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
When Daniels became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, he joined a long list of names which included Randy Travis, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt, Trace Adkins, and many more at the time. Carrie Underwood was the next artist to be inducted after Daniels in May 2008. Daniels passed away on July 6, 2020 in Hermitage, Tennessee from a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83 years old.