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16 Years Ago: Brad Paisley Inducted Into the Grand Ole Opry

Brad Paisley
Duane Prokop, Getty Images

Feb. 17 is undoubtedly a day that is etched in Brad Paisley‘s mind forever. It was on that day in 2001 that he achieved a lifelong ambition, when he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

Paisley was surprised with an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry on Dec. 16, 2000, by Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely and Little Jimmy Dickens. At the time of his invitation into the prestigious institution, the singer, who was only 28 years old, had released his debut album, Who Needs Pictures, and performed on the revered stage 36 times.

Paisley paid tribute to one of his own musical heroes, Buck Owens, on the night of his induction by wearing the same yellow jacket that Owens wore when he recorded his 1966 live Carnegie Hall Concert album. The West Virginia native sang his then-new single, “Two People Fell in Love,” from his sophomore album, Part II, and a letter from George Jones was read to the crowd.

“I am counting on you to carry on the tradition,” Jones wrote, “and make folks sit up and listen to what good country music should sound like.”

It’s a mantra Paisley has been happy to live by.

“I love the Opry,” he says. “I would call it my favorite place in the city of Nashville. That hallowed place that feels like home that has accepted me from the beginning.”

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