Gene Watson Invited to Join Grand Ole Opry - Rolling Stone
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Gene Watson to Become Next Member of the Grand Ole Opry

Vince Gill surprised “Farewell Party” singer during Friday night appearance

Gene Watson Grand Ole Opry

Vince Gill surprised singer Gene Watson with an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.

Chris Hollo*

Gene Watson is set to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.

The singer was making a Friday-night appearance at the Opry, currently in its annual winter residency at former home the Ryman Auditorium, some 55 years after he made his debut on the same stage. After performing his early-Eighties hits “Sometimes I Get Lucky and Forget” and “Nothing Sure Looked Good on You,” Watson was interrupted by Opry member Vince Gill.

“I’ll make you a deal — if you will do ‘Farewell Party,’ we will invite you to be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry,” said Gill, referencing Watson’s signature hit from 1979, in a video that captured the moment.

A stunned Watson recalled how he and his band celebrated the 40th anniversary of the hit in 2019 and how it was still his most-requested song all these years later.

“[Then] you pull this on me, I’m not sure I have anything left,” said Watson, whose other hits include 1975’s “Love in the Hot Afternoon” and 1981’s “Fourteen Carat Mind.”

Watson follows a slew of new Opry members who have been invited to join since the beginning of 2018, including current hitmakers Chris Janson, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, and Luke Combs, along with Nineties star Mark Wills.

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