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Another Top 10 Unforgettable Country Music Awards Moments

VO: Lisa Yang
Script written by Q.V Hough On the CMA stage, country artists pay their respects and play it up for camera! In this countdown we take a look at another unforgettable country music awards moments! We’ve included moments such as when Taylor Swift becomes youngest artist to win entertainer of the year, Glen Campbell tribute, Charley Pride becomes first black artist to win entertainer of the year, Shania Twain wins entertainer of the year, Loretta Lynn becomes first female to win entertainer of the year and when Alan Jackson performs “Where were You (When the World Stopped Turning)!

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Another Top 10 Unforgettable Country Music Awards Moments

On the CMA stage, memories are made. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Unforgettable Country Music Awards Moments.
For this list, we’re focusing solely on the Country Music Association Awards, and the moments that got people talking.

#10: Taylor Swift Becomes Youngest Artist to Win Entertainer of the Year

Just shy of her 20th birthday, America’s crossover sensation made history at the CMAs. At the time, Taylor Swift had released only two studio albums. But with the success of “Fearless,” she established herself as not only a future icon, but one of the genre’s most influential artists as well. During her acceptance speech, a tearful Taylor recognized her collaborators, along with her fans. It was clearly a humbling moment for Taylor, and her words show that she’s appreciative of the award and that she fully recognizes the significance of the occasion.

#9: Glen Campbell Tribute

Shortly after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, this country music icon appeared at the CMA for a memorable tribute. Throughout his career, Glen Campbell fused traditional sounds with popular themes, making him one of the genre’s most enduring artists. At the 2011 CMAs, fellow icons paid respect to the living legend, with a performance featuring musicians like Keith Urban, Vince Gill and Brad Paisley. It was moving tribute to be sure, but it was Glen’s reaction that makes this such a bittersweet moment, especially considering the nature of his disease and his death six years later.

#8: Brad Paisley's Entertainer of the Year Speech

Tradition goes a long way in country music. When he took the stage in 2010 to accept his Entertainer of the Year Award, Brad Paisley was his usual charming self, but you could tell from the beginning that he was getting choked up. True to his image, he began by cracking a joke. After all, his wit is part of what makes him so endearing to fans. But then he took the opportunity to really embrace the gravity of the moment and acknowledge the remarkable nature of the country music community. With heartfelt words, Brad thanks his grandfather, a man that offered some important advice that got him where he is today. Now that’s classy.

#7: 50th Anniversary Opening Number


At the 2016 CMAs, a collection of country stars honored a true icon. During the opening number, they started off by focusing on Merle Haggard, a musician who influenced multiple generations of artists. Next, a stage full of legends cover a variety of late 20th century hits. By featuring Charlie Daniels and Brad Paisley, along with solo performances by other modern icons, this CMA opening number became an epic CMA moment that country fans will never forget. It’s a star-studded affair, celebrating the genre itself through a variety of timeless classics.

#6: Shania Twain Wins Entertainer of the Year

By 1999, Shania Twain was a legitimate superstar. But she had yet to win the CMA’s most coveted award, an honor that had been given to males for 13 consecutive years. Shania was up against living legends such as Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw and even George Strait, all of whom were arguably more accomplished within the genre. Shania’s victory forever changed country music, as she not only broke a longstanding streak, but was someone that could truly take the genre to the next level through her commercial appeal and musical versatility.

#5: Charley Pride Becomes First Black Artist to Win Entertainer of the Year

Over the years, country music has diversified and welcomed new voices. In 1971, however, a black artist had never won the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award. That all changed with Charlie Pride, a Mississippi-born singer who dominated the country charts during the late 60s and early 70s. By winning the award, Charlie paved the way for other visible minorities while expanding the country music genre. Nearly a quarter-century after being named Entertainer of the Year, he became the first black musician to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

#4: Garth Brooks Wins Entertainer of the Year for the First Time

At the 25th Annual CMA Awards, the one and only Garth Brooks had a big night. The Oklahoman’s first Entertainer of the Year award came after the release his second album “No Fences,” which ultimately sold 17 million records and features some of his most beloved songs . The torch was essentially passed to a new voice in 1991, as the Garth began a run that would make him a true pop culture icon. Twenty-five years after winning his first Entertainer of the Year Award, Garth won it for the fourth time, further establishing his CMA legacy.

#3: Loretta Lynn Becomes First Female to Win Entertainer of the Year

By the 1972 CMA Awards, Loretta Lynn had fully established herself in country music after releasing 20 studio albums. Seventeen of them had even reached the Top 10 on the US Country charts, including three from 1972 alone. Yet, Loretta had never won the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award, nor had any other woman. On October 16, 1971, Charlie Pride won the Male Vocalist of the Year Award, which further diversified country music. But this year it was Loretta who took home the biggest honor, in a moment that inspired a world of female country singers to follow in her path.

#2: Dolly Parton Tribute

Forty-one years after her first CMA nomination and win, Dolly Parton received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. But it’s not like she’d been out of the spotlight; her 2016 album, “Pure & Simple,” reached #1 on the US Country Charts. After three solo performances, featuring the classic Dolly hits “Jolene,” “9 to 5” and “Here You Come Again,” Dolly is clearly moved by the touching group rendition of her 1974 single “I Will Always Love You.” Her presence alone made the 2016 CMAs memorable and the medley tribute is nothing short of extraordinary, along with Dolly’s “high” praise for Willie Nelson.

#1: Alan Jackson Performs "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”

Less than two months after the 9/11 attacks, Alan Jackson performed a new song at the 35th Annual CMA Awards. But this wasn’t any ol’ country performance, it was an emotional response to one of America’s darkest days. Alan has always been able to connect with audiences through his music, but his 2001 performance was something entirely different. Alan created a national cultural moment, and the song remains equally powerfully after all these years. The CMA Awards are about honoring the best country music artists, and this moment is about honoring something even bigger - all those who lost their lives on September 11th.

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