When Was the First Country Music Association Awards (CMA)? The History of the CMAs

LAS VEGAS - MAY 26: Musician George Strait performs on stage at the
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The best entertainers in the music industry get all dolled up each year to attend several award shows in hopes of winning a coveted award. There are even specific music genre award shows, including the Country Music Association Awards or the CMAs. Musicians are up for awards such as Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. Fans tune in to see if their favorites win and to watch some impressive performances by the stars.

Many Americans love country music so it is no surprise that the CMAs are the longest-running annual music awards program on network television. For years, it aired on NBC but has been airing on ABC since 2006. As fans gear up to root for their favorites tonight, learn a little more about the history of the award show and how it works.

Country singer songwriter Eddy Arnold performs for the WMAK radio station toy drive 1950 in Nashville, Tennessee

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When did the Country Music Association Awards start?

The Country Music Association Awards started in 1967 and were first televised in 1968. NBC taped the ceremony and aired it a few weeks later. In 1969, NBC began airing the award show live.

Who won the very first Entertainer of the Year Award at the 1967 CMAs?

Eddy Arnold won the first award for Entertainer of the Year.

Which artist has won the most CMA Awards?

George Strait has won the most awards with 22 awards. The duo Brooks & Dunn is next with 17 awards.

Who decides the winners of the CMA Awards?

The CMA Awards are voted on by the members of the Country Music Association comprised of artists, music executives, songwriters, publicists, and other industry professionals. Music qualified for the award show must be released during the eligibility period which this year was July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

What are all of the categories of CMA Awards?

The categories for the CMA Awards are Entertainer of the Year, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Vocal Duo of the Year, Musical Event of the Year, Musician of the Year, Music Video of the Year, and New Artist of the Year.

What were some of the Best Moments from the CMAs?

Perhaps the top moment in CMAs‘ history is when the late Charley Pride became the first, and still only, Black artist to win Entertainer of the Year. He won in 1971 after releasing ten albums. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 just a month before his death.

In the same vein, Loretta Lynn made history when she became the first woman to win Entertainer of the Year in 1972 after releasing over 20 albums.

Sometimes the best moments are the surprising performances. In 1994, Tanya Tucker brought on the late Little Richard for a performance of “Something’ Else” and became a duo to remember.

In more recent years, Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson teamed up for an unusual duet with a very nostalgic song. They performed “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppets and it was truly heartwarming.

When are the 2023 CMA Awards on television?

The 57th annual CMAs are on tonight, Wed, Nov 8, 2023, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM ET on ABC.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 09: Hosts Peyton Manning and Luke Bryan speak onstage at The 56th Annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 09, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee

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Who is hosting the 2023 CMA Awards?

Country singer Luke Bryan and NFL star Peyton Manning are hosting the awards located at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Who is performing at the 2023 CMA Awards?

Luke Bryan will also be performing a medley of his hit songs including “One Margarita.” In addition, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs, Jelly Roll, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Megan Moroney, Old Dominion, Carly Pearce, Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker, Alan Jackson, Cody Johnson, Post Malone, Lainey Wilson are set to perform tonight. Several artists will perform duets. There will also be a special performance by Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band member Mac McAnally, Alan Jackson, and the Zac Brown Band to honor the late Jimmy Buffett, who passed away this year.

Who is nominated for an award at the 2023 CMAs?

Entertainer of the Year

Single of the Year

  • “Fast Car” – Luke Combs (Producers: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton, Mix Engineer: Chip Matthews)
  • “Heart Like A Truck” – Lainey Wilson (Producer: Jay Joyce, Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce)
  • “Need A Favor” – Jelly Roll (Producer: Austin Nivarel, Mix Engineer: Jeff Braun)
  • “Next Thing You Know” – Jordan Davis (Producer: Paul DiGiovanni, Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley)
  • “wait in the truck” – HARDY (feat. Lainey Wilson) (Producers: HARDY, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells, Mix Engineer: Joey Moi)

Album of the Year

  • “Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville” — Ashley McBryde
  • “Bell Bottom Country” — Lainey Wilson
  • “Gettin’ Old” — Luke Combs
  • “One Thing At A Time” — Morgan Wallen
  • “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat” — Kelsea Ballerini

Song of the Year

  • “Fast Car” — Songwriter: Tracy Chapman
  • “Heart Like A Truck” — Songwriters: Trannie Anderson, Dallas Wilson, Lainey Wilson
  • “Next Thing You Know” — Songwriters: Jordan Davis, Greylan James, Chase McGill, Josh Osborne
  • “Tennessee Orange” — Songwriters: David Fanning, Paul Jenkins, Megan Moroney, Ben Williams
  • “wait in the truck” — Songwriters: Renee Blair, Michael Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Jordan Schmidt

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Ashley McBryde
  • Carly Pearce
  • Lainey Wilson
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 08: Luke Combs performs on stage during day one of CMA Fest 2023 at Nissan Stadium on June 08, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee

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Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Luke Combs
  • Jelly Roll
  • Cody Johnson
  • Chris Stapleton
  • Morgan Wallen

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady A
  • Little Big Town
  • Midland
  • Old Dominion
  • Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brooks & Dunn
  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Maddie & Tae
  • The War And Treaty

Musical Event of the Year

  • “Save Me” — Jelly Roll (with Lainey Wilson) (Producers: Zach Crowell, David Ray Stevens)
  • “She Had Me At Heads Carolina (Remix)” — Cole Swindell & Jo Dee Messina (Producer: Zach Crowell)
  • “Thank God” — Kane Brown (with Katelyn Brown) (Producer: Dann Huff)
  • “wait in the truck” — HARDY (feat. Lainey Wilson) (Producers: HARDY, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells)
  • “We Don’t Fight Anymore” — Carly Pearce (featuring Chris Stapleton) (Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Carly Pearce)

Musician of the Year

  • Jenee Fleenor
  • Paul Franklin
  • Rob McNelley
  • Derek Wells
  • Charlie Worsham

Music Video of the Year

  • “Light On In The Kitchen” — Ashley McBryde (Director: Reid Long)
  • “Memory Lane” — Old Dominion (Directors: Mason Allen, Nicki Fletcher)
  • “Need A Favor” — Jelly Roll (Director: Patrick Tohill)
  • “Next Thing You Know” — Jordan Davis (Director: Running Bear)
  • “wait in the truck” — HARDY (feat. Lainey Wilson) (Director: Justin Clough)

New Artist of the Year

  • Zach Bryan
  • Jelly Roll
  • Parker McCollum
  • Megan Moroney
  • Hailey Whitters
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Queens of Country

November 2019

Get your toes-tapping as we give a nod to the queens of classic country music.

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