Country Chatter

Reba Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Grand Ole Opry Debut


Reba McEntire celebrated the 40th anniversary of her Grand Ole Opry debut with two shows on Friday, September 22. The shows also had two surprise guests in Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood.

The surprise guest appearances were reminiscent of McEntire’s debut on September 17, 1977 when she was upstaged by Parton.

“First time I ever sang on the Grand Ole Opry was September 17, 1977,” said McEntire earlier this year, “and I was supposed to sing two songs, but they came to me when I got there and said, ‘We’re gonna have to cut you down to one song because Dolly Parton just pulled up into the driveway, and she’s gonna take one of your songs.’ I said, ‘Okay, she can take both of them. Can I meet her?’”

“I just wanted to give it back to you tonight,” said Dolly from the Opry stage, “and say hello and congratulations and how much I love you.”

Underwood’s unannounced performance of three songs truly surprised the audience. After which she joined McEntire on her song, “Does He Love You.”

“It’s always an honor to be on this stage, especially tonight,” said Underwood. “You are an inspiration to us all.”

Vince Gill, who hosted Reba’s 40th anniversary celebration, also spoke of his affection for mCentire as a performer and a friend.

“She’s an old, sweet, dear friend of mine. There’s not many people you can guarantee they’ve got your back. And this is one of my best friends in the world.”

McEntire looked back at her debut and expressed what the night meant to her. “It was a lot of fun. It was nerve-wracking. It was scary. This means the world to me. It’s been a wonderful 40 years. I couldn’t have done it without you, and I wouldn’t have wanted to.

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