Today marks the 93rd anniversary of the start of the Grand Ole Opry radio show! On Saturday night, November 28, 1925, WSM radio in Nashville, which had just started broadcasting a month earlier, introduced their new show. But it wasn’t called the Opry back then. It was first known as the WSM Barn Dance. George D. Hay, the new program director of the radio station came up with the idea after having run a similar program on Chicago radio station WLS. That night 93 years ago, Hay introduced a 77-year-old fiddler named Uncle Jimmy Thompson. Two years later, Hay renamed the show The Grand Ole Opry. A Saturday night tradition ever since, the Opry is country music’s most famous institution and is the longest-running radio show in U.S. history.

Speaking of the Orpy, 54 years ago today, Willie Nelson made his debut on the show. His first appearance came just two weeks after his first recording session for RCA Victor, during which he recorded his own version of a Christmas song he wrote and Roy Orbison had recorded: “Pretty Paper.”

Celebrating Birthdays Today: Kristine Oliver, one-half of the sister duo The Sweethearts of the Rodeo, turns 62; and ‘60’s pop singer/songwriter Bruce Channel, who’s hit “Hey Baby” was later covered by Anne Murray, turns 78.

Passages: Thomas Roady, Ricky Skaggs’ drummer, in 2011 at the age of 62; singer Terry Aden, who had two singles on the Billboard Country Singles chart in the early 1980’s, in 2001 at the age of 49; and lyricist Kal Mann, who wrote Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear,” also in 2001 at the age of 84.

Jake Owen is currently on the country music charts with “Down to the Honky Tonk.” Country music’s first honky tonk song was recorded on this date 82 years ago! Singer/songwriter Al Dexter recorded a song called “Honky Tonk Blues” – NOT the Hank Williams song, BTW – in San Antonio, Texas. Dexter’s songwriter partner, James B. Paris had come up with the title but Al said he had never heard the phrase before. Paris had to explain to him that a honky tonk was one of “those beer joints up and down the road where the girls jump in cars….”