“You’ve been up in the clouds with grand opera; now get down to earth with us in a shindig of grand ole opry!”

With those words in 1927, George Dewey Hay—known to listeners as “The Solemn Old Judge”—officially christened the show that would become radio’s longest-running musical program.

Grand Ole Opry actually began as The WSM Barn Dance in November of 1925, as a one-hour showcase for rural music. By the 1930s, the show had expanded to four hours and station WSM/Nashville had expanded to 50,000 watts, making the show a Saturday night musical tradition in nearly 30 states. In 1939, the Grand Ole Opry began an affiliation with NBC that lasted until 1957.

Many country music legends debuted and became regulars on Grand Ole Opry, including singers Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline and comedians Minnie Pearl and Archie Campbell. Pearl, with her trademark greeting of “How-deee!” and a $1.98 price tag dangling from her hat, was an Opry regular for over 50 years.

Grand Ole Opry is still heard every week on WSM, presenting the best in country music from the past and present.

Grand Ole Opry was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.