Legendary songwriter Don Schlitz and ‘Nashville A-Team’ musician Charlie McCoy invited to join Grand Ole Opry

If you’re just a casual country music fan, you might not know the names Don Schlitz or Charlie McCoy.

But you have certainly heard their work.

Don Schlitz is a legendary songwriter who co-wrote some of the greatest songs in country music history – and that’s no exaggeration. He has 24 number ones to his name with songs like “The Gambler”, “Forever And Ever Amen”, “When You Say Nothing At All”, Alabama’s “40 Hour Week”, and many more.

Schlitz has also released three albums, including a live album recorded at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

He has won two Grammy Awards and was four-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year. He is also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

And Charlie McCoy is an iconic musician who has performed with some of the biggest names in music as a member of the “Nashville A-Team”, a group of session musicians who have recorded with everyone from Elvis Presley to Loretta Lynn.

A multi-talented instrumentalist, McCoy can be heard playing harmonica, drums, guitar and keyboard on recordings by artists including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Bob Dylan, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Charley Pride… the list goes on and on and on.

For years McCoy played over 400 sessions a year and is by far the most recorded harmonica player in music history. You can hear his work on songs like Waylon’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”, the George Jones classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and Tanya Tucker’s “Delta Dawn”.

McCoy even served as music director for the TV show Hi Haw, and he released several of his own albums and singles, including his 1973 album Good times Charlie which went to No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and is also a member of the International Musicians’ Hall of Fame.

So yes, Schlitz and McCoy are both country music legends.

And soon, they will both finally be members of the Grand Ole Opry.

During last night’s show, host Vince Gill extended not one, but two invitations to future Opry members – the first time two artists have been

Vince first handed the invitation to a shocked McCoy, who called the opportunity to join the Opry “the icing on the cake.”

“I first played the Opry in 1971 and I’ve played there many times, then the last 4, 5, 6 years I’ve played there quite a bit.

And I love it here. It’s the best audience in the world. The group is amazing. And it’s so exciting, and I can’t thank everyone enough for this honor. I’m blown away.”

But Vince was not done with the surprises, because soon after he extended the same invitation to Schlitz as well.

Schlitz only had one question:

“Can I bring my songs with me?”

I sure hope he does.

Speaking during the invitations to Schlitz and McCoy, Opry executive producer Dan Rogers acknowledged the contribution these two legendary hitmakers have made to decades of country music history:

“It’s no exaggeration at all to say that Charlie McCoy played on the soundtrack of almost every country music fan’s life and that Don Schlitz wrote at least a portion of each of those soundtracks.

Every time Charlie or Don plays the Opry, each showcases something incredibly special about the Opry and our hometown of Nashville.

These two Opry inductions were long overdue, especially when it seemed like over there for a while, the criteria for Grand Ole Opry membership had shifted to simply having a hit song on the radio (not to mention names, Dustin Lynch).

There’s no doubt that these two absolutely belong on the Grand Ole Opry, so better late than never.

Induction ceremonies for Schlitz and McCoy will both be scheduled for a future date.

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