On this day in 2012, chart-topping country star Darius Rucker was invited to become a member of the highly respected Grand Ole Opry. Rucker expected his performance on the Opry stage on October 2 to be like any other, yet it turned out to be an unforgettable night for the singer.
After finishing his set, the South Carolina native was told that the Grand Ole Opry had recently began a question-and-answer segment for Tuesday night shows. Suspecting nothing out of the ordinary, Rucker was surprised when fellow country artist and friend Brad Paisley asked a question from the crowd.
“Are you still the worst poker player in the world?” Paisley jokingly asked Rucker, following it with a much more serious question: “Would you like to be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry?”
Taken aback, the “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” singer eagerly accepted the invitation with tears in his eyes.
“Oh, you’re kidding me. Really? No? Yes, I would. Wow,” Rucker said in response to Paisley.
Paisley joined Rucker on stage with a hug, celebrating the memorable moment with the singer.
“Welcome him home, everyone,” Paisley told the crowd. “This is his new home right here.”
After the show, Rucker admitted that he had no idea what was going to happen that night.
“I didn’t think Brad was going to say what he did (about welcoming me home). That was really amazing,” he shared.
The South Carolina native later admitted that everyone in his life knew about the surprise invitation but him.
The country star, who was the first Black artist to join the Opry family since Charley Pride’s induction in 1993, was officially inducted on October 16, 2012 by Vince Gill.
Rucker’s Opry induction aired live on Great American Country’s Noteworthy at the Opry show.