Since the very first ceremony in 1967, the year’s top country singles and songs have earned a place in the CMA Awards ’ history books. Although dozens of now-classic tunes have received the prestigious trophies, it’s a real rarity to achieve victories in both categories. (The single designation is for the artist and producer, while the song nominations go to the songwriters.) And with the right momentum, there’s often a spillover of success into other categories, too.
Going all the way back to the first show, here are 10 songs that have scored big at the CMA Awards over the last 45 years.
“The House That Built Me,”
Miranda Lambert (2010)
This eloquent ballad opened the door for Miranda Lambert last year. A first-time winner at the show, she ultimately picked up three trophies — female vocalist, album (Revolution) and video. Songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin accepted song of the year honors.
Brooks & Dunn (2006)
Brooks & Dunn capped a magnificent CMA Awards run in 2006 with the song written by Ronnie Dunn and Craig Wiseman. The spiritual number led to victories in the single, song and video categories, while Brooks & Dunn earned their 14th and final win in the vocal duo category.
“Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),”
Alan Jackson (2002)
One of the most emotional moments in CMA Awards history came when Alan Jackson delivered this stunning song just two months after 9/11. The following year, voters rewarded him in the single, song and male vocalist categories, while Drive won the album of the year trophy.
“Wide Open Spaces,”
Dixie Chicks (1999)
This anthem about starting anew fit perfectly with the dawn of the 2000s. The Dixie Chicks captured their fun-loving concerts on film and wound up with trophies in the single, video and vocal group categories. In 2000, they became the only trio to ever win the entertainer of the year crown.
“When I Call Your Name,” Vince Gill (1990-1991)
This plaintive ballad brought Vince Gill his first CMA Award in 1990 in the single category, followed in 1991 with a victory as song of the year with co-writer Tim DuBois. In addition, Gill earned the first of five consecutive male vocalist awards in 1991, a record that still stands.
“Forever and Ever, Amen,” Randy Travis (1987)
This romantic Randy Travis tune will be played at weddings forever and ever, amen. Written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, it won awards in the single and song category in 1987. Travis also won a CMA trophy that year in the album category with Always & Forever.
“Always on My Mind,” Willie Nelson (1982-1983)
Willie Nelson grabbed two CMA Awards in 1982 — one in the single category for “Always on My Mind” and another for the album of the same name. Plus the forlorn ballad won song honors twice, in 1982 and 1983, for writers Johnny Christopher, Wayne Carson and Mark James.
“He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Jones (1980-1981)
George Jones picked up his first-ever CMA Awards with this devastatingly sad song written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman. In 1980, Jones claimed the single category as well as the first of two male vocalist awards. The writers also earned their song trophies in 1980 and 1981.
“Behind Closed Doors,” Charlie Rich (1973)
This sultry number illustrates why Charlie Rich was called the “Silver Fox.” In 1973, he won for single, album and male vocalist, while Kenny O’Dell won in the song category. Rich, who died in 1995, is notorious for igniting the envelope in disgust after revealing John Denver as 1975’s entertainer of the year.
“There Goes My Everything,” Jack Greene (1967)
Jack Greene dominated the inaugural CMA Awards in 1967. “There Goes My Everything” led to awards in the male vocalist, single and album categories, while Dallas Frazier earned song of the year. At this year’s CMA Awards nominations, Greene donated his trophies to the organization.