AP

Barbara Mandrell returns to the Opry for 50th anniversary

Jul 31, 2022, 4:33 AM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 6:00 am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country Music Hall of Famer and Grammy winner Barbara Mandrell retired from music more than two decades ago, but the Grand Ole Opry still feels like home to her.

Mandrell, 73, made a rare public appearance on Saturday night at the Opry to celebrate her 50th anniversary of being an Opry member.

“Here we are at home again,” Mandrell told The Associated Press in an interview backstage at the Opry House before the long-running radio and TV program. “50 years. Not everybody gets that blessing.”

Born in Texas and raised in California, Mandrell was just 23 when she became a member in July of 1972. But she was already a seasoned entertainer by the time she came to Nashville, after her teenage years were spent playing steel guitar and appearing regularly on the California-based country TV show “Town Hall Party.”

Over her decades-long career, the actor, multi-instrumentalist and singer turned millions of fans onto country music in the ’70s and ’80s, not only through her popular TV show “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters,” but also through hits like “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed,” “If Loving You is Wrong (I Don’t Want to be Right)” and “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”

She became the first country artist to earn back-to-back entertainer of the year awards from the Country Music Association, crossing over with R&B covers and bringing glamour and showmanship to the genre. Her performances were a showcase of her musicality, whether she was singing to the top of the rafters, playing pedal steel, the banjo or the saxophone.

“It’s called show business. You need to show them something,” Mandrell said. “Otherwise, they could sit at home and listen to your recordings or listen to you on the radio. You’ve got to give them something that entertains them.”

With her sisters Louise and Irlene, Mandrell used the power of television to bring new ears to country music, as well as gospel music. Her musical guests were a mixture of R&B, pop and country artists.

“So many would say things like, ‘I never listened to country music, but now, boy, I’m watching every Saturday night and I love it,'” Mandrell said.

This Saturday night, Mandrell was still a champion of country music. Before the show began, Mandrell watched Carrie Underwood from side stage as Underwood did her soundcheck of “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” stopping to give her a hug and greeting Underwood’s band members.

Underwood said growing up, Mandrell’s voice was always around.

“She has been such an inspiration to me and so many others that stand on the shoulders of great female artists like her,” Underwood told the Opry crowd.

During the Opry show, Mandrell enthusiastically applauded the all-female artist lineup, including CeCe Winans, Linda Davis and Suzy Bogguss, as they performed her hits.

“I already feel on top of the world. I feel the deepest of gratitude and excitement because I am such a huge fan of these ladies,” said Mandrell.

From her seat in the middle of the crowd, Mandrell waved and blew kisses at her fans, who snapped photos of the country star.

Mandrell hasn’t played music or sung — other than in church — since she retired in 1997. Her last concert ever was held at the Opry House and made into TV special called, “Barbara Mandrell and the Do-Rites: The Last Dance.”

Dressed smartly in a hot pink pantsuit and surrounded on stage by 50 dozen lavender-colored roses bought by her fans, Mandrell gave another goodbye from the same Opry stage 25 years later.

“I chose my home to do my final performance on and it was this one,” Mandrell said. “God bless you!” she told fans before she walked off stage into the shadows.

__

https://www.opry.com/

__

Follow Kristin M. Hall at https://twitter.com/kmhall

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

15 hours ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

2 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

2 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

4 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

4 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Barbara Mandrell returns to the Opry for 50th anniversary