Flashback: 35 Years Ago, Randy Travis Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut

When The Cowboy Sings / YouTube

Before he was considered one of the most successful country artists in music history, with a string of No. 1 hit songs, 25 million album sales, and many, many awards, Randy Travis was just a singer with a big dream.


His Opry Debut

On March 7, 1986, just three months before the release of his debut album, Travis’ big dreams came true when he stepped on the Grand Ole Opry stage for the very first time.

The country newcomer was introduced by the iconic, Little Jimmy Dickens, and immediately took the stage by storm when he began singing “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” a Hank Williams classic. Travis’ timeless voice brought many listeners back to the days of classic country just when it was beginning to merge with pop.

His Big Induction

For many country fans, Travis was a breath of fresh air!

So there was no surprise that by the end of that same year, on Dec. 20, 1986, Travis became an official Grand Ole Opry member. He was introduced by Ricky Skaggs and performed his No. 1 hit, “Diggin’ Up Bones,” from the Storms of Life album.


In 2011, Travis celebrated 25 years as an Opry member in a star-studded show. The Opry put on “Randy’s 25th Opry Anniversary,” and Travis performed some of his greatest hits with fellow artists, including Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner, John Anderson.


Honoring A Legend

In 2015, two years after suffering from a stroke that almost took his life, Travis returned to his Opry home. The country singer made a very special appearance at the place that started it all. The Opry captured the emotional moment and shared it with fans.

No matter where fame has taken him, Travis has always been grateful for the Grand Ole Opry and the opportunities that have come from it. On the Opry’s website, Travis said of his proud membership,

“Every time you walk on the Opry stage is a special feeling that I wish I knew how to describe. There is just a wonderful energy on that stage… I am very proud to be a member of the Opry.”

Beautifully said.

Below, Travis sings his Opry debut song, Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

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