Grand Ole Opry member Mel McDaniel lost his battle with lung cancer last night, March 31 at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn. The 68-year-old McDaniel had been a member of the Opry since 1986. McDaniel’s last Opry appearance was during an all-cast sing at the Sept. 28, 2010 re-opening of the Opry House. Funeral arrangements are not finalized at this time, but will be posted on opry.com when they are made available. McDaniel is survived by one daughter and one grandson.
Born in Checotah, Oklahoma, Mel first performed publicly during a high school talent contest. It was many years later, however, that he would achieve success in the music business.
Mel first made his mark on Nashville as a demo singer and as a songwriter. A song he penned for Conway Twitty, “The Grandest Lady of Them All,” paid tribute to the Grand Ole Opry he loved even before he ever dreamed of becoming an Opry member, himself.
It was monster hits such as “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Big Ole Brew,” “Stand Up,” and “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” that did lead to Mel’s official Opry membership in 1986.
Mel once said, “I wanted to be a singer because I wanted to make people feel good with my music.” Night after night, year after year he achieved that goal on the Opry stage as well as on stages and radio dials across America. And his music is bound to make people feel good for years to come.