Legendary Songwriter Don Schlitz, “Nashville A-Team” Musician Charlie McCoy Invited To Become A Member Of The Grand Ole Opry

Charlie McCoy singing into a microphone on a stage with other men
Chris Hollo/Grand Ole Opry

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

But you’ve definitely heard their work.

Don Schlitz is a legendary songwriter who has co-written some of the biggest 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,” “40 Hour Week” by Alabama, and a ton more.

Schlitz has also released three albums of his own, including a live album that was recorded at Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Cafe.

He’s earned two Grammy awards and is a four-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year, and is also a member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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

A multi-talented instrumentalist, McCoy can be heard playing the harmonica, drums, guitar and keyboard on recordings from artists like 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 would play over 400 sessions a year, and is easily 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 the music director for the television show Hee Haw, and he’s released many of his own albums and singles, including his 1973 album Good Time Charlie that went to #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 yeah, Schlitz and McCoy are both legends in country music.

And soon they’ll 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 members of the Opry – the first time two artists have ever been

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

“I played the Opry the first time in 1971 and I played it some several times, and then the last 4, 5, 6 years I played it quite a bit.

And I just love it here. It’s the best audience in the world. The band is amazing. And it’s such a great thrill, and I cannot thank everyone enough for this honor. I’m blown away.”

But Vince wasn’t done with the surprises, because a little while later he also extended the same invitation to Schlitz.

Schlitz had just one question:

“Can I bring my songs with me?” 

I sure hope he does.

Speaking on the invitations to both Schlitz and McCoy, Opry executive producer Dan Rogers recognized the contribution that both of these legendary hitmakers have made to decades of country music history:

“It is not an exaggeration at all to say Charlie McCoy has played on the soundtrack to almost every country music fan’s life and that Don Schlitz has written at least a portion of each of those soundtracks.

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

Both of these Opry inductions are long overdue, especially when it seemed like there for a while the criteria for becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry had slipped to simply having a hit song on the radio (not mentioning any names, Dustin Lynch).

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

Induction ceremonies for both Schlitz and McCoy will both be scheduled for an upcoming date.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock