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Many country music superstars embrace the Grand Ole Opry and openly weep when invited to become members of the Nashville institution. However, a handful of country superstars are not members of the Opry.

To become a member of the Grand Ole Opry, you have to be invited, and that decision comes down to Opry management. According to the Opry website, “Opry membership requires a passion for country music’s fans, a connection to the music’s history, and it requires commitment – even a willingness to make significant sacrifices to uphold that commitment. Often, the Opry seeks out those who seek out the Opry, though decisions aren’t based on which artists appear most on the show, either.”

In picking new members of the Opry, their site says, “The Opry doesn’t simply pass out invitations to the biggest stars with the most hits. Opry management looks for a musical and a generational balance. Opry membership requires a passion for country music’s fans and a connection to the music’s history. It requires commitment – even a willingness to make significant sacrifices to uphold that commitment.”

To become a member, there is a rule that artists need to commit to playing the Grand Ole Opry stage several times a year. However, that rule is often broken by current Opry members (primarily icons and superstars), and it’s just okay.

For some country superstars, it may be the commitment they shy away from or not having enough passion for the Opry history to leave the Grand Ole Opry out of their careers. We look at five country music superstars that are not members of the Grand Ole Opry. While all have played it at least once, these five acts rarely play the Grand Ole Opry stage.

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  • Tim McGraw

    Tim made his Grand Ole Opry debut in December 2003. After that, he played it a few times, but never that much, and now he doesn’t play the Grand Ole Opry at all. Not sure why.

  • Faith Hill

    Faith played the Opry in the late 1990s when her career started to hit. She didn’t play the Opry stage much after that.

  • George Strait

    George Strait
    Vince Bucci/Getty Images

    George played the Grand Ole Opry show once, his debut performance on the stage in October of 1982. That was the first and last time, and no one really knows why. There is a theory that he could not make the Opry commitment to play the stage very much because he never lived in Nashville; he has always resided in Texas.

  • Miranda Lambert

    Miranda played the Grand Ole Opry several times in her career, and some of her most recent performances on the Opry stage were in 2014 with then-husband Blake Shelton and in 2015 and 2016. She does not play it often now, and in 2015, she told me when asked about the Grand Ole Opry and someday becoming a member, “It’s sort of something I don’t talk about or have never asked or say that out loud. It was always a big deal to Blake, so that was something we always talked about, and he became a member, but I’d never really set it out for myself.” She added, “It wasn’t on my radar before because I focused on that for him, but I would definitely never say no to being a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

  • Kenny Chesney

    Kenny Chesney
    Scott Gries/Getty Images

    Kenny made his Opry debut in 1996. He has been on the Opry stage a handful of times and once when he paid tribute to George Jones singing his classic, “White Lightning.” These days it’s very rare to see Chesney on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

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