Grand OLE Opry: The Official History

Chet Hagan, Author
Chet Hagan, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.95 (346p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0543-1
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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Hagan, the producer of over 75 television music specials, sketches brief and almost invariably flattering portraits of the luminaries of the venerable Nashville institution in this rosy history. Like country music itself, his account is unabashedly sentimental. Supplying trivia instead of insight, Hagan describes how the Opry was named, why its music was dubbed ``hillbilly'' and how one of the most commercially viable country songs (``The Tennessee Waltz'') came to be written. Backstage doings, from the Opry's first star, banjo-playing Uncle Dave Macon, through Roy Acuff and the new breed of young superstars (such as Ricky Scaggs and Reba McEntire), are remembered affectionately, and celebrities' well-publicized struggles with alcohol or drugs generally ignored. But singer Bill Anderson's observation that ``in country music, the pinnacle, the top, the ultimate, was the Grand Ole Opry'' still rings true, as Hagan shows that the Opry has not lost its vitality in the 63 guitar-pickin' years since its founding. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
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