Grand Ole Opry / Reba

Reba McEntire Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Opry Debut

photos by Rachael Black/Grand Ole Opry
Cake by IveyCake


The Grand Ole Opry celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Reba McEntire’s Opry debut tonight with surprise appearances by Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill as host. McEntire first played the Opry on September 17, 1977.

Underwood surprised the audience with an unannounced performance of three of her biggest hits followed by another appearance with McEntire to duet on the Grammy-winning “Does He Love You.” “It’s always an honor to be on this stage, especially tonight. You are an inspiration to us all,” Underwood said to McEntire.

Parton had made a last-minute Opry appearance on the night of McEntire’s debut, reducing McEntire’s set to one song. Recalling that 40 years ago she had taken one of the songs McEntire was to have performed, Parton said, “I just wanted to give it back to you tonight … and say hello and congratulations and how much I love you.”

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

On stage, McEntire reflected on her debut 40 years earlier, saying, “It was a lot of fun. It was nerve-wracking; it was scary. This means the world to me,” she continued. “It’s been a wonderful 40 years. I couldn’t have done it without you, and I wouldn’t have wanted to!”

During the second sold-out show this evening, RIAA President Mitch Glazier surprised McEntire with a plaque to commemorate more than 40 million in RIAA certifications across 27 albums.

Opry celebrations continue into October with the Opry’s 92nd Birthday October 6 & 7 and the induction of its newest member, Chris Young, on October 17. Other appearances scheduled in October include Steven Curtis Chapman, Eric Church, Charlie Daniels, Charles Esten, Tyler Farr, Vince Gill, Hunter Hayes, Chris Janson, Tracy Lawrence, Dustin Lynch, Craig Morgan, Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, and many more, including LANCO making their Opry debut.

To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or visit to

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