16 Years Ago: Toby Keith Makes His Grand Ole Opry Debut
Sixteen years ago today (Dec. 14, 2002) is a day that Toby Keith will likely never forget: It was on that date that the singer made his long-awaited debut on the Grand Ole Opry.
At the time of Keith's inaugural performance on the show, he had already released seven studio albums, including the multi-platinum Pull My Chain, released in 2001, and Unleashed, released four months before his Opry appearance. He also had 22 Top 20 singles, including chart-topping hits such as "Should've Been a Cowboy," "How Do You Like Me Now?!" and "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue."
Keith's inaugural Opry performance took place at the Ryman Auditorium, where he was joined for the night by Trace Adkins and Keith Urban. Ironically, after Keith's debut performance, he didn't return to the hallowed stage until 2011, when he was once again joined by Adkins.
“The Opry is the most prestigious historical music-related event in all of country music,” Keith says. “I don’t live in Tennessee, and it’s always been difficult for me to make the arrangements to perform on that grand stage. But it doesn’t keep me from listening almost ritualistically to it.
“... I know what it has provided for me and all who follow," he continues. "The Opry is truly our mother.”
A list of all of the artists appearing on the Opry in the coming days is available on the Grand Ole Opry website.
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