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Grand Ole Opry
By Jack Hurst
Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers
404 Pages
ISBN:  0-8109-0268-0

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Country Music is America's music and the Grand Ole Opry is Country Music's home. For half a century, on radio and now on television, the Grand Ole Opry program has come from Nashville, Tennessee to quick the pulse of its millions of fans with colorful, tuneful, down-to-earth entertainment. Now its story has been penned in a king-size book that captures in its pages all the excitement and nostalgia of the program. This is a book for anyone who ever heard Minnie Pearl say, "Howdeeeeeee!"

Produced with the cooperation of the Opry and its stars, Grand Ole Opry is filled with hundreds of fascinating photographs, many of which have never been published anywhere before. Many come from the files of Radio Station WSM and the Opry, dozens were commissioned especially for this book, and yet other were personal snapshots lent by the stars themselves.

The story of the Opry is a vital and vigorous saga of American entertainment. It begins even before Judge Hay gave the program its name, and brings us through 50 exciting years right down to the present. It tells about the stars, the people behind the scenes, all who played a part in bringing the Nashville sound into every town and hamlet of our land. It tells of the triumphs and tragedies, the feuds and romances, the legendary singers and musicians, the unforgettable comedians.

We see Uncle Dave Macon and Judge Hay, Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash and Bill Monroe and all the young giants of today, too—stars like Marty Robbins, Porter Wagoner, Del Reeves, Tammy Wynette and many more. There are chapters devoted to Hank Williams, the rise of bluegrass, the women stars. A special photo essay in full color explores the lush new entertainment park, Opryland U.S.A. and its country music shows—such as Country, Dixieland, Western, Contemporary and "I Hear America Singing", a musical pageant of fifty years of American history, its rides and amusements and its centerpiece, the new Opry House.

Jack Hurst, the author was a staff member of the Nashville Tennessean for ten years before joining the Philadelphia Inquirer. His weekly column on Country Music is widely syndicated. Grand Ole Opry is based on interviews, ranging back over the years, plus extensive new research. The author has also provided a discography and there is a selection of traditional country songs especially arranged for this book. Fully indexed.


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