NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The CMA Awards is back! And to celebrate, here are 55 things you may or may not know about Country Music’s Biggest Night™.

CMA Awards through the years

  • The first CMA Awards was held in 1967 at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville.
  • The first televised CMA Awards took place one year later in 1968.
  • The CMA Awards have been held in Nashville every year except in 2005 when they were held at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
  • The CMA Awards is the longest-running annual awards show on national TV. (Information from Billboard Magazine)
  • The 54th CMA Awards in 2020 was held at the Music City Center and did not have a public audience, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The 55th Annual CMA Awards is returning to Bridgestone Arena and will welcome back the fans by offering limited tickets for the public.
  • There have been five locations in Nashville where the CMA Awards have been held. Those locations are the Municipal Auditorium, Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry House, Bridgestone Arena, and the Music City Center.
  • The CMA Awards began airing on ABC in 2006, where it continues to air.

Entertainers of the Year

  • Eddy Arnold won the first-ever Entertainer of the Year award in 1967.
  • Loretta Lynn was the first woman to win the Entertainer of the Year award.
  • Brooks & Dunn is the only duo to ever win Entertainer of the Year.
  • Barbara Mandrell was the first artist to win the Entertainer of the Year award twice.
  • Charley Pride was the first African American artist to win the Entertainer of the Year in 1971.
  • Alabama was the first group to win Entertainer of the Year (1982).
  • Speaking of Alabama, they were also the first to threepeat the “Entertainer of the Year” award (82-84).
  • Garth Brooks has won the Entertainer of the Year award seven times – more than any other performer.
  • In 2009, 19-year-old Taylor Swift became the youngest person to ever win the Entertainer of the Year award.
  • Kenny Chesney and Alabama hold the record for the most consecutive wins for Entertainer of the Year.
  • Seven female acts have won Entertainer of the Year: Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell (twice), Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, The Chicks, and Taylor Swift (twice).
  • When Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood were both nominated for Entertainer of the Year in 2020, it was the first time in 20 years two female acts had been up for the award in the same year. They both are nominated for Entertainer of the Year again in 2021.

CMA Awards Records

  • George Strait has the most CMA Awards nominations – 83. Of those nominations, he has won 23 times.
  • Miranda Lambert is the most awarded female in CMA history with 14 wins.
  • Lambert is also the most-nominated female artist in CMA history with 58.
  • Musician Paul Franklin is the most-nominated artist who has not won a CMA Award. He picked up the 30th nomination of his career for the upcoming 55th Annual CMA Awards so maybe it’s finally his turn!
  • In 2019, Jenee Fleenor became the first woman to be nominated and win Musician of the Year. She also won in 2020 and is nominated for the category again in 2021.
  • Dolly Parton has won a CMA Award in five different decades.
  • In 2000, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill made history as the first married couple to win both Male/Female Vocalist of the Year.
  • Luke Combs is trying to threepeat as the Male Vocalist of the Year in 2021. The current record for most consecutive wins in that category (5) belongs to two people: Vince Gill (1991 – 1995) and Blake Shelton (2010 – 2014).
  • Miranda Lambert also won Female Vocalist of the Year a record straight six years (2010 – 2015).
  • “There Goes My Everything,” written by Dallas Frazier and performed by Jack Greene, won the first Song of the Year and Single of the Year. It was later covered by Elvis Presley.

History and Facts

  • Awards are given for 12 different categories – Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, New Artist, Vocal Group, Vocal Duo, Single, Song, Album, Musical Event, Music Video, and Musician.
  • Albums and songs released between July 1 of the previous calendar year and June 30 of the award show’s year are eligible for consideration.
  • The CMA Awards nominees and winners are determined by more than 7,400 industry professional members of the CMA.
  • The Best New Artist award debuted In 1981, but the time was called the Horizon Award.
  • Six artists who won the Horizon Award/Best New Artist have gone on to win “Entertainer of the Year” (Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks, The Chicks, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Taylor Swift).
  • The Country Music Association was founded in 1958.
  • The CMA was the first trade organization formed to promote an individual genre of music.
  • In 2020, Jimmie Allen was the first African American nominated for New Artist of the Year since Darius Rucker 11 years prior. Rucker won that year. Allen is once again nominated for New Artist of the Year in 2021.
  • Two movie soundtracks have won Album of the Year – Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001)
  • Jimmy Buffett won Vocal Event of the Year in 2003 for the song “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” performed by him and Alan Jackson.
  • The CMA’s instituted a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. It was named after the inaugural recipient, Willie Nelson.
  • In 2016, Dolly Parton became the first female, and currently only, recipient of the “Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award”.
  • Johnny Cash won three CMA Awards in 2003 two months after he died.
Musicians perform a tribute to Johnny Cash during the 37th annual Country Music Association Awards show in Nashville, Tenn. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003. Included in the performers are Sheryl Crow, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

CMA Awards Hosts

  • Darius Rucker was the second Black host in the history of the CMA Awards when he co-hosted in 2020. The first was Charley Pride who co-hosted with Glen Campbell in 1975.
  • At the 2014 CMA Awards, Brad Paisley announced his co-host Carrie Underwood was expecting a baby boy with her husband, retired Nashville Predator Mike Fisher.
  • The 2019 CMA Awards show was the first time Brad Paisley didn’t join Carrie Underwood as host. Instead, Underwood was joined by Reba McIntyre and Dolly Parton, making it the first-ever all-female host line-up.

The CMA Award

  • The coveted CMA Award was originally made of walnut.
  • Each award weighs 6 pounds and stands 15 inches tall.
  • The award is made of hand-blown fine crystal in Florence, Italy.
  • At its inception, the award was designed to resemble a chart bullet.

CMA Awards 2021

  • Eric Church and Chris Stapleton (5) have the most nominations at this year’s CMA Awards.
  • Church, who won Entertainer of the Year in 2020, looks to become the first back-to-back winner of the award since Garth Brooks (2016-2017).

Don’t miss the 55th Annual CMA Awards LIVE from Nashville Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. CST on ABC.