The Big Wake Up With Don Chase and Sarah

The Big Wake Up With Don Chase and Sarah

The legendary Johnny Cash got a chance to go back and play the Opry for several years before he died, but he earned his way off the stage at one point in his career. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

The Grand Ole Opry is synonymous with Country music – and so is being banned. The two have gone hand in hand for decades and the Opry has showcased Country music’s evolution over many years. The history of the Opry is expansive and it is always a celebration when a singer is asked to become a member. Which makes the banning of a member even more memorable!

There have been more than a handful of bans handed out over the years. Most of them have to do with partying a little too hard, or making poor life choices that the Opry doesn’t want to be associated with.

Sometimes, those artists are welcomed back into the fold when they’ve gotten their act together. Other times, their luck may run out, and they never get a chance to play the stage again.

From some of the biggest names in hard country partying, to a name you’ll actually genuinely be surprised to hear was banned at one point, this list of three banned Grand Ole Opry stars is just a taste of what the hallowed halls have meant to artists over the years.

So here’s a look at three of our favorite banned Grand Ole Opry artists, starting with the most heartbreaking one of all time.

  • Hank Williams Sr.

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    Holly Williams – granddaughter of Hank Williams, Sr. – has performed on the The Grand Ole Opry stage that her grandfather was banned from.

    According to The Boot, the elder Hank Williams missed a show in 1952, and the Opry leadership decided it wanted to teach him a lesson about the consequences of his actions by dismissing him. He was reportedly quite an alcoholic at the time. And while it was supposed to be a temporary ban, Hank died just a few months later. He has never been reinstated posthumously, as only living artists are actually eligible to be Opry members.

  • Johnny Cash

    Johnny Cash

    Country artists perform in a tribute to the late Johnny Cash in 2003. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

    Another legendary artist banned from the Opry for alcohol-related incidents. The legendary Johnny Cash went on an angry drunken rampage, smashing the stage lights with the mic stand, according to That’s a good reason to get kicked out.

    Unlike ol Hank, Cash did get invited back, and played the hallowed stage in his later years.

  • Dierks Bentley

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    Dierks Bentley made it back into the building, after he was banned before he ever even got started! (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

    Well now, this one is probably the most surprising inclusion on the list. While Dierks is known for getting drunk on a plane, it was actually his partying BEFORE he was an Opry member that got him in trouble.

    According to Taste of Country, Dierks would sneak into the Opry when he was an employee at neighboring CMT and TNN. Eventually, the Opry folks sent him a letter saying that while they loved him, he can’t come every weekend.

    Lucky for Dierks, he ended up earning his was onto the stage as a real member, thanks to his wild career success.

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