You know you’ve made it in country music when you’re invited to play the Grand Ole Opry.
Even though the Opry is no longer taped at the Ryman Auditorium like it used to be, the symbolism of singing on the same stage as Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and hundreds of other performers before you and hearing the call letters WSM remains.
The only problem is you have to watch your step. One false move and you could find yourself among those banned from the Opry.
Hank Williams Sr.
Really. you’d think that being THE Hank Williams would be enough to make you immune to any banning from just about any country music institution.
And now it probably would be, but in 1952 when ole Hank was asked not to return, things in Nashville were different.
He probably would have eventually sobered up and gotten asked back but he passed away (though not in a car crash as this article previously stated) before that could happen.
There’s a campaign to get him back in that can be found here.
Everybody knows about Johnny systematically stomping out the stage lights during one of his more drunken moments in 1965.
This act earned him a temporary ban. Either because he married into essentially the royal family of country music or because its hard to keep people who are on the charts off the stage or just because he was Johnny Cash, he made his triumphant return several years later.
Apparently taking any piece of clothing off while on any Opry stage is grounds for a lifelong ban. Even if it was just your outermost layer and there’s a camisole underneath.
Just ask Neko Case.
She pulled off her top at an outdoor Opry-sponsored show and was banned for life. Her explanation that she was trying to avoid heatstroke fell on deaf ears.