Remember when Loretta Lynne won CMA Awards with Loretta Lynn announced as Entertainer of the Year? How about when johnny Cash hosted the event.
Of course you don’t. It was decades ago and most of you weren’t even born yet.
There was a time that the Country Music Awards, like the industry and culture itself, had an edge and a spirit of danger. Performers would roll off a couch in a studio somewhere in town to accept their award. Sometimes they were drunk and looking for a fight. Below find some great moments from CMA history to help us steel through the glitter-choked tailgate party it’s become.
The one video I wanted o find most of all was one of Charlie Rich burning the piece of paper announcing John Denver as the Country Music Association “Entertainer of the Year” at the 1975 CMA Awards. Alas that little gem of industry spontaneity has been shut down.
Dolly Parton sneaks up on Randy Travis
Waylon Jennings performs “America” on what looks like an ’80’s CMA
CMA’s hosted by Johnny Cash in 1978
Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge perform Me and Bobby McGee at the 1974 CMA Awards
Sonny James and Bobby Goldsboro present the award for the Country Music Association Instrumentalist to Jerry Reed in 1971.
1974 CMA Awards with Loretta Lynn announced as Entertainer of the Year
Willie Nelson Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame by Johnny Cash at the 27th CMA Awards 1993
Alison Krauss & Union Station performs ‘My Poor Old Heart’ on the 2005 CMA
1968 Country Music Awards with an induction of Bob Wills into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Skip over the insipid performance by Bobby Goldsboro.
In 1999 George Jones, recovering from a near-fatal car accident, was nominated for Single of the Year for his autobiographical ballad “Choices.”
CMA executives asked Jones to sing a shortened version of the nominated song, but he opted to stay home as a sign of his protest against the request.
Alan Jackson showed class and reverence for Jones worked “Choices” into the last portion of his scheduled performance of his current single, “Pop A Top.”