Country Music Hall of Famer and harmonica wiz Charlie McCoy debuted on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1971. Over half a century later, longtime peer Larry Gatlin inducted one of the most respected session musicians to ever call Nashville home as a member of the show's cast.
"We are welcoming you into our home," Gatlin said from the Opry stage on Wednesday (July 13). "I am humbled and honored to welcome into our family a friend of 50 years who I think is the greatest musician in the world and the Dean of the Nashville Cats, Charlie McCoy."
McCoy called the honor the "icing on the cake" for a career that's shaped country music over the past 60 years. As an A-Team session musician, McCoy appeared on recordings by Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Bob Dylan and numerous others. In the 1970s, McCoy scored three Top 10 country albums and worked as musical director for Hee Haw. The 81 year old regularly dons his Nashville Predators cap and appears as a special guest during performances across Music City. When considering McCoy's lasting legacy, the real shocker is that he wasn't an Opry member already.
Two Opry Invites in One Night
Vince Gill surprised two of his fellow Country Music Hall of Fame members during June 11's live Grand Ole Opry broadcast with invites to join the influential radio show's cast. Per the Tennessean, it marked the first time in decades that multiple artists received a public Opry invite on the same night.
After delivering the good news to McCoy, Gill popped the same question to Don Schlitz, the songwriter behind Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" and multiple signature hits of Randy Travis --namely Paul Overstreet co-write "Forever and Ever, Amen."
"Ladies and gentlemen, what an honor it is to be here every time," Schlitz said from the stage. "What an honor it is to be here with these people who've become friends and family. I guess it turns out if you hang around long enough, friends become family."
McCoy and Schlitz doubled the Opry's class of 2022. Lauren Alaina and Jamey Johnson joined country music's most exclusive club in February and May, respectively.
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