Some of country music's most enduring stars participated in an NBC tribute special to the Grand Ole Opry.
"Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music" aired on Sunday and featured hosts Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley discussing the importance of Nashville's weekly country music showcase, which has provided a key career boost for countless artists. Performers on the star-studded program included Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks, among many others.
"Making it to the stage at the Grand Ole Opry means you've arrived," Shelton said. "For me, it was 20 years ago that I made my Opry debut – a night I'll never forget." He went on to say, "The Opry's like a family."
After getting its start as a radio show, the Grand Ole Opry found a permanent home with the Ryman Auditorium in 1943.
"The performers and performances that came together there are legendary," Underwood said. "Music history unfolded on this stage and through the airwaves, and the Ryman, built as a gospel tabernacle, became the mother church of country music."
To underscore the wide range of music superstars who have shared their gifts with the Grand Ole Opry audiences over the years, the evening also featured performances by the two co-hosts, plus Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown, Little Big Town, Old Crow Medicine Show, Darius Rucker, Marty Stuart and Trisha Yearwood.
Additionally, Lady A sang a version of Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen" while Kelsea Ballerini did a rendition of Allison Krauss' "When You Say Nothing At All."
"Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music" also featured archival footage of such greats as Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn.
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