CMA Awards 1999: George Strait And Alan Jackson Call Out Pop Country With “Murder On Music Row”

We’re into the second week of November, and that means there are two things on the calendar here in the near future.

Thanksgiving… and the CMA Awards.

Although, I’m only excited about one of them… you can go ahead and guess which one…

Seriously, the CMA Awards just ain’t what they used to be anymore, and the plummeting ratings year after year prove that. Maybe get Tyler Childers and Cody Jinks on there and actual country music fans will watch.

Anyways, with the CMA Awards coming up in just a couple days, we’ve been looking back at some of the most memorable moments from the show’s history.

We brought you Alan Jackson’s 1999 protest performance of “Choices” in honor of the great George Jones, and Sturgill Simpson’s legendary busking performance outside of Bridgestone Arena.

Of course there was also the time the late, great Charlie Rich got shitfaced and lit John Denver’s award envelope on fire. And we also revisited Kellie Pickler’s emotional performance of “I Wonder” at the 2007 awards, and the Garth Brooks lip-syncing controversy from 2017 – and Eric Church calling him out for it.

And today, let’s spin it back to 1999, when country music was at its peak in popularity, and you had some absolute studs rocking the stage year after year at country music awards ceremonies. However, the “pop-country” sound was slowly starting to make its way into country music radio, and country music purists were not happy, to say the least.

And what happened at the 1999 Country Music Association Awards, simply can’t be forgotten.

Alan Jackson and George Strait took the stage that year and took a much-needed shot at mainstream Nashville with a performance of their duet, “Murder On Music Row.”

Originally written by Larry Cordle and Larry Shell, it was a lament of the death of traditional country music.

“For the steel guitars no longer cry
And the fiddles barely play
But drums and rock ‘n’ roll guitars
Are mixed up in your face
Ol’ Hank wouldn’t have a chance
On today’s radio
Since they committed murder
Down on music row.”

You gotta love it.

And we have to take this opportunity to share, because Lord knows the CMAs would never let a singer perform a song like this on stage nowadays.

Because unfortunately… it’s gotten a whole lot worse ever since.

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