The Grand Ole Opry – The Making Of An American Icon is the name of a new book, released today by Hachette Book Group. It was written by Colin Escott, who has a number of previous works on the history of American popular music, including Good Rockin’ Tonight: Sun Records & the Birth of Rock & Roll.
What makes this new volume unique as compared to other Opry histories is that the story is told almost exclusively in the words of the performers and personalities themselves. Escott adds just enough of his own text to move the story along, but the bulk of the narrative is in the form of quotes from Opry members and employees.
As you might expect, the book is more focused on country than bluegrass music, but Bill Monroe merits several pages on his joining the Opry, one of which sports this none-too-prescient quote from his brother, and then recent ex-partner, Charlie Monroe.
“He won’t last on the Opry. Wait ’til people find out how difficult he is to get along with.”
Flatt & Scruggs get there due, and an entire chapter is dedicated to the resurgence in bluegrass during the folk music era of the 1960s.
There are a great many photos sprinkled throughout the book, which would be a welcome gift for anyone with an interest in the beginnings of bluegrass and country music, and the Opry in particular.
The book is available directly from Hatchette Book Group, and from most prominent book sellers, both brick-and-mortar and online.