Charlie McCoy, Don Schlitz Both Invited to Join the Grand Ole Opry

There will soon be not one but two new members of the Grand Ole Opry! Both already members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, it was Vince Gill who surprised them both with the invitation, marking the first time in history that two separate invitations were issued on the same night.

McCoy, a multi-instrumentalist, has played on some of country music’s most iconic hits, including “The Boxer,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “Orange Blossom Special,” and “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.” among others.

“Charlie, I just wanted to come out here and thank you for the career that you’ve had over all these years for 81 years old,” Gill said during McCoy’s time on stage, before officially issuing him an invitation to become a Grand Ole Opry member. “The contributions you’ve made to country music are astounding.”

“I’ve had so many amazing things happen, but I want to tell you what — this is the icing on my cake,” a shocked McCoy said from stage. “I played the Opry the first time in 1971, and I’ve played it several times. The last four, five or six years, I’ve played it quite a bit. I just love it here. It’s the best audience in the world. The band is amazing, and it’s such a great thrill. I cannot thank everyone enough for this honor. I am blown away. Thank you.”

Schlitz has penned several of country music’s most iconic songs, including “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’),” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “The Greatest,” “Strong Enough to Bend” and more. Later in the evening, Gill joined Schlitz for an acoustic set of Schlitz performing “The Gambler” and “When You Say Nothing At All,” which he wrote, before Gill also surprised him with the news.

“I’m gonna be a member of the Grand Ole Opry! Can I bring my songs with me?” Schilitz quipped, adding, “Like Charlie said, ‘This is the icing.’”

Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers says both McCoy and Schlitz are more than worthy of becoming members of the historic institution.

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

A date for both of their inductions into the Grand Ole Opry has yet to be announced.

Read ’10 Country Artists Who Should Be Grand Ole Opry Members’ here.