As the Country Music Association Awards celebrates its 50th awards ceremony on Wednesday, expect to hear a lot about its historic moments during the ceremony. Seven past entertainer of the year winners have been invited to perform, and while there may still be jeans and cowboy boots in the audience, it’s a black-tie affair.
Here’s a look at some of the top milestones from the CMA Awards over five decades:
Even the Grammys can’t match this:
In 1968, the CMA Awards’ second year, the show was taped and aired on NBC. By the third year, it aired live from the Ryman Auditorium. It’s now the longest-running, annual music awards show on national television, even ahead of the Grammys.
Always a bridesmaid:
Despite being widely considered the best steel guitar player in Nashville, musician Paul Franklin is the most-nominated artist at the CMA Awards who has never won. He has 25 nominations since 1989, mostly for musician of the year, but has yet to take home a trophy. Like the Cleveland Cavaliers, maybe this is finally his year to win.
Remember way back to 2009? Not yet a pop princess, but a rising country superstar, 19-year-old Taylor Swift became the youngest person to win the top prize, entertainer of the year. More than a decade earlier, another young girl became the youngest solo artist to win a CMA award at the age of 15. LeAnn Rimes won the Horizon award in 1997, later renamed the new artist of the year award.
The host with the most:
The longest consecutive host of the CMA Awards is Vince Gill, who spent a dozen years hosting the show between 1992 and 2003. He was an affable host with a charming wit and laugh, who also shared co-hosting duties with Reba McEntire and Clint Black for a couple of years. Current hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are starting their ninth straight year as hosts of the show.
George Strait wears two crowns, as both the most nominated artist and the most awarded. With 83 nods since 1983, he has taken home 23 CMA Awards, including five album of the year awards. His last award was entertainer of the year in 2013.
Queens Reba, Miranda:
On the female side, country icon Reba McEntire has the most nominations among female artists with 49 nods since 1983 and six awards. Miranda Lambert is the most awarded female artist in CMA history with 12 wins and 39 nominations. Lambert also holds the current six-win streak in the female vocalist category.
The powerhouse duo of Brooks & Dunn have eight consecutive wins in the vocal duo of the year category and 14 overall wins in the category. Also with eight consecutive wins in the musician of the year category is guitarist, singer and songwriter Mac McAnally.