Elvis has entered the building (for a limited time)! Ever wonder why the King of Rock only took the Ryman stage one time? We’re unveiling a new Elvis Presley exhibit on this must-do Nashville tour commemorating 70 years since Presley’s one and only Grand Ole Opry performance at the Ryman on Oct. 2, 1954. 


From Memphis to the Ryman

Renowned as one of the most talked-about moments in the Ryman's rich history, explore the stories behind Presley's performance – alongside lead guitarist Scotty Moore and double bass player Bill Black – through a series of recollections, photographs, and artifact displays. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the dynamic storytelling surrounding Presley's infamous appearance, narrated by Matthew Ramsey, songwriter and lead singer of CMA & ACM Award-winning band Old Dominion.

“The Ryman is full of history and stories like this, and it's great to be a part of telling the story of someone who's had such a tremendous impact on music and culture, not to mention my own personal musical journey,” said Ramsey. “I’m honored to narrate this incredible exhibit marking the 70th anniversary of Elvis's historic Opry debut at the Ryman." 

Elvis Presley and bandmates performing on the Opry stage

A Little Bit of Back Story

Seventy years ago, when the Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley was reportedly extremely nervous to take the stage. Before his performance, he told a bass player that the crowd was going to “hate” him. While hate is a strong word, some have said the crowd was not impressed by his performance of “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

Presley has said that he was told by Opry Manager Jim Denny to “go back to Memphis and drive a truck.” But others who were there that night, including Denny himself, have refuted those claims. Instead, Denny reportedly made it clear to record producer Sam Phillips that Elvis didn't quite fit the Opry mold but that he thought "this boy's not bad." Presley never performed on the Opry stage again but visited friends backstage at the Ryman in 1957.

Photo of Elvis with friends backstage at the Ryman for the Grand Ole Opry

Tour Music’s Most Iconic Stage

From Elvis’s Opry debut to the electrifying performances of today's stars, Ryman Auditorium is a Nashville landmark filled to the brim with cool music history. Curious about the stories behind the stage? Dive into the vibrant history of this world-renowned venue with new exhibits, artifacts, and even more star-studded stories to tell on this can’t-miss tour in Nashville.