Thank you Phil, for sharing this great black and white photo.
Archive for the ‘black and white’ Category
On November 28, 1964, Willie Nelson made his Grand Ole Opry debut, as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly Saturday night country music radio program broadcast live on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the oldest continuous radio program in the United States, having been broadcast on WSM since November 28, 1925. It is also televised and promotes live performances both in Nashville and on the road.
The Grand Ole Opry started out as the WSM Barn Dance in the new fifth floor radio station studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company. The featured performer on the first show was Uncle Jimmy Thompson, a fiddler who was then 77 years old. The announcer was program director George D. Hay, known on the air as “The Solemn Old Judge.” He was only 30 at the time and was not a judge, but was an enterprising pioneer who launched the Barn Dance as a spin-off of his National Barn Dance program at WLS Radio in Chicago, Illinois. Some of the bands regularly featured on the show during its early days included the Possum Hunters, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the Crook Brothers and the Gully Jumpers. They arrived in this order. However, Judge Hay liked the Fruit Jar Drinkers and asked them to appear last on each show because he wanted to always close each segment with “red hot fiddle playing.” They were the second band accepted on the “Barn Dance.” And, when the Opry began having square dancers on the show, the Fruit Jar Drinkers always played for them.
In 1926, Uncle Dave Macon, a Tennessee banjo player who had recorded several songs and toured the vaudeville circuit, became its first real star. The name Grand Ole Opry came about in December, 1927. The Barn Dance followed NBC Radio Network’s Music Appreciation Hour, which consisted of classical music and selections from grand opera. Their final piece that night featured a musical interpretation of an onrushing railroad locomotive. In response to this Judge Hay quipped, “Friends, the program which just came to a close was devoted to the classics. Doctor Damrosch told us that there is no place in the classics for realism. However, from here on out for the next three hours, we will present nothing but realism. It will be down to earth for the ‘earthy’.” He then introduced the man he dubbed the Harmonica Wizard â€” DeFord Bailey who played his classic train song “The Pan American Blues”. After Bailey’s performance Hay commented, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’” The name stuck and has been used for the program since then.
As audiences to the live show increased, National Life & Accident Insurance’s radio venue became too small to accommodate the hordes of fans. They built a larger studio, but it was still not large enough. The Opry then moved into then-suburban Hillsboro Theatre (now the Belcourt), then to the Dixie Tabernacle in East Nashville and then to the War Memorial Auditorium, a downtown venue adjacent to the State Capitol. A twenty-five cent admission began to be charged, in part an effort to curb the large crowds, but to no avail. In 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium.
On October 2, 1954, a teenage Elvis Presley made his first (and only) performance there. Although the public reacted politely to his revolutionary brand of rockabilly music, after the show he was told by one of the organizers that he ought to return to Memphis to resume his truck-driving career, prompting him to swear never to return. Ironically, years later Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.
The Ryman was home to the Opry until 1974, when the show moved to the 4,400-seat Grand Ole Opry House, located several miles to the east of downtown Nashville on a former farm in the Pennington Bend of the Cumberland River. An adjacent theme park, called Opryland USA, preceded the new Opry House by two years. Due to sagging attendance, the park was shuttered and demolished after the 1997 season by the Opry’s current owner, Gaylord Entertainment Company. The theme park was replaced by the Opry Mills Mall. An adjacent hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, is the largest non-gambling hotel in North America and is the site of dozens of conventions annually.
Still, the Opry continues, with hundreds of thousands of fans traveling from around the world to Nashville to see the music and comedy on the Opry in person.
by: Chris Jordan
Who’s that handsome man in the aviator shades and the John Varvatos jacket?
Why, it’s Willie Nelson, sporting a new look thanks to the eye of Toms River photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch.
Nelson, 80, and sons Lukas and Micah were photographed and filmed for a John Varvatos ad campaign in Des Moines by Clinch during the summer.
The campaign, called Willie Nelson and Sons, highlights the Varvatos fall and winter line. Full-page ads showing Nelson as photographed by Clinch have appeared this fall in magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue.
“We went out to Des Moines, and we caught him on the road,” Clinch said. “The tour bus pulled up in front of the location we were shooting at, and there’s an Indian painted on the side of the bus, and the Red Headed Stranger comes out. I think the beauty for me was to capture him with his boys.”
The fashion campaign’s short film, available at johnvarvators.com, is directed by Clinch and features the three Nelsons performing “Still is Still Moving to Me.”
“Willie doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do, and he loved the idea about him and his family,” Clinch said. “He’s about family and loyalty to the people of his inner circle. When we pitched the idea about his sons, he was pretty psyched.”
Clinch, an acclaimed rock photographer who has worked with numerous celebrities and musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, has done more than a dozen Varvatos campaigns, featuring Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Jimmy Page and Gary Clark Jr., the Roots, Cheap Trick and more.
Nelson, whose usual fashion attire includes a bandana and denim, also used one of Clinch Varvatos photos for the cover of his new album, “To All the Girls…”
“Willie was really into the photos we took, and he liked the way he looked,” Clinch said.
Chris Jordan: 732-643-4060; email@example.com
Willie has been described as a man of wisdom and a peacemaker, but he wasn’t always the gentle soul that many now know him as. Nicknamed ‘Shotgun Willie’ for the shootout that happened when he heard his daughter Lana was being physically assaulted by her husband Steve.
“I ran for my truck and drove to the place where Steve and Lana lived and slapped Steve around,” Willie recalls. “He really pissed me off. I told him if he ever laid a hand on Lana again, I would come back and drown his ass. No sooner did I get back to Ridgetop than here came Steve in his car, shooting at the house with a .22 rifle. I was standing in the door of the barn and a bullet tore up the wood two feet from my head. I grabbed an M-1 rifle and shot at Steve’s car. Steve made one pass and took off.”
Willie then returned to Steve and Lana’s to find Steve had left and kidnapped their young son Nelson Ray. Lana told Willie that Steve was looking to ‘get rid of him.’ So Willie drove back to Ridgetop and waited.
“Thinking Steve would come to Ridgetop to pick me off about dusk, I hid in the truck so he couldn’t tell if I was home. We laid a trap for him. I had my M-1 and a shotgun. He drove by the house, and I ran out the garage door. Steve saw me and took off. That’s when I shot his car and shot out his tire. Steve called the cops on me. Instead of explaining the whole damn mess, the beatings and the semi-kidnapping and shooting and all, I told the officers he must have run over the bullet. The police didn’t want to get involved in hillbilly family fights. They wrote down what I told them on their report and took off.”
Willie may have softened over time, but the story continues to live on. Now you too can own the infamous ‘Shotgun Willie’ tee for yourself! It resembles the vintage design of the tee worn by Willie and includes a great vintage style flock lettering! Get yours today and help this story continue to live on!
Photo Credit: Jim Marshall Photography