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Gene Watson Joins The Grand Ole Opry
Tonight, after a career spanning five decades, country legend, Gene Watson, officially becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It’s been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage” and from our perspective, they couldn’t have a found more worthy and deserving recipient.
The beginning of the Grand Ole Opry started on the night of Nov. 28, 1925, when an announcer on Nashville radio station WSM introduced fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on a new show called “The WSM Barn Dance.” Now, more than 80 years later, the show Hay started is still going strong.
Along the way, it has launched countless country music careers and led the way for Nashville to become Music City. The Grand Ole Opry is dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present and showcases a mix of country legends and contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps.
Gene Watson began his music career in the 1960s, performing in the big Houston nightclubs while working as a paint and body man during the day. He recorded for only a few small, regional record labels and had regional success with the song, “Bad Water”, until 1974, when Capitol Records picked up his album Love in the Hot Afternoon and released it nationally. It became the first of Gene Watson’s two-dozen top-10 hits in the 70s.
He is most known for “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” his 1981 #1 hit “Fourteen Carat Mind,” and his signature 1979 song “Farewell Party.” During his long career, he has notched five number ones, 23 top tens and over 76 charted singles.
Gene Watson quit drinking in 1980 and quit smoking not long after that. He underwent surgery and survived colon cancer in 2000-01. Through it all, he continued to record one critically applauded collection after another. He was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the inaugural class of the Houston, Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2013. Watson still tours relentlessly and remains proud to be known as an icon for “real country.”
Asked why he is still in such high demand after all these years, Watson reflected “I think a lot of it is because there’s not too much of what I do around anymore. I think there is still a hunger out there for traditional country music. So I’d like to stay out there as long as I’m able to do the job and do it well.
“Every time I step out on that stage and see that audience, it’s a new beginning. Even though I’ve sung these songs millions of times, I look at each one like it’s brand new to me. Every night, I try to deliver that song the best that I can.
“Being called a ‘Singer’s Singer’ humbles me. It’s flattering, but what I do is just what I do. The good Lord just gave me the voice.”
Congratulations to a True Gentleman and Country Music Legend.