In the words of Eric Church, and probably countless others….
“Waylon f*cking Jennings, man.”
With the CMA Awards just a couple weeks away, it got me thinking about some of the great awards show moments throughout the years. And by great, I mean the time Alan Jackson had his drummer play without sticks at the ACMs, the time Sturgill Simpson busked outside of the Bridgestone Arena during the CMAs, and back in 1975 when Waylon Jennings won Male Vocalist of the Year.
The greatness of Waylon was a little before my time, and I know I don’t appreciate his legacy like those that were there, but back in 1975 he was nominated for a ton of awards including Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year.
And based on his own words, Waylon hated every second of it. Here’s a short excerpt from his 1988 autobiography, Waylon: An Autobiography:
“Now they needed me again, because I was up for Best Male Vocalist, Song of the Year (“I’m a Ramblin’ Man”), Album of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year.
As I walked in with Jessi, scratching at my tuxedo, her telling me I should have hit them, Neil came over to me. ‘You won Male Vocalist,’ he whispered. ‘Jessi didn’t win anything.'”
And knowing that his wife Jessi Colter didn’t win anything, he was content just to leave.
“So much for secrecy. If nobody’s supposed to know the awards before they opened the envelope, how did word get around? My heart went out to Jessi, and though my first instinct was to get the hell gone, I thought that maybe by staying I could raise some of the larger problems that faced country music, such as its closed mindedness and suspicion of change.”
And not much has changed… however, Waylon stuck around to make his acceptance speech. But rather than make a statement, pull a real outlaw move and the give the powers that be a good tongue lashing, he just walked up and said “thanks.”
The moment of truth…
“When it came time for Best Male Vocalist, Tanya Tucker and Tammy Wynette made a great show of opening the winner’s envelope. I tried to be nice in my acceptance speech, thanking everybody for their support, though I knew that block voting and mass trading between the big companies—we’ll give you two hundred votes for your artist if you give your four hundred votes to our writer—probably had more to do with it than anything else.
At least Glen Campbell, the host, was happy. ‘All I can say, Waylon, is it’s about damn time.’ Predictably, the CMA got a few letters protesting Glen’s use of profanity…
I was happier watching Charlie Rich get drunk and burn up the Entertainer of the Year award, holding a cigarette lighter to the envelope, please. They went to grab him, but when Charlie was drunk, it was best to stay out of his way.
Oh, yeah. John Denver won Entertainer of the Year. Now that’s what I call country.”
Spoken like a true outlaw.
In his speech, all he said was:
“Thank you, they told me to be nice, I don’t know what they meant by that. Thank you.”
And that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Glen then followed it up with “it’s about damn time” and as Waylon mentioned, and naturally, that was pretty frowned upon at the time. People were pissed that he would curse on TV so he, or the CMAs, might’ve been fined for it.
And how about Glen introducing Tammy Wynette and Tanya Tucker as “two of the most attractive female vocalists you’ve ever saw in your life?” I’m pretty sure we won’t be hearing Luke Bryan introduce Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert like that this year.
Life is a lot different in 2023, eh?
And here’s a clip of Charlie lighting John Denver’s envelope on fire.
Charlie’s own son claimed that he was just wasted and thought it would be funny, and that it wasn’t a shot at John Denver, who many considered to be more of a pop artist at the time.
Either way, pretty damn funny.
CMA Awards Nominees
The 57th Annual CMA Awards will get underway this fall in Nashville and the nominees are here. The 57th Annual CMA Awards will once again be hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning as the ceremony broadcasts live from Nashville Wednesday, November 8th.
Lainey Wilson is leading the pack with a whopping nine nominations, and first-time nominee Jelly Roll leads all male artists with five nominations. Luke Combs and HARDY have four nominations each.
And the nominees are…
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
Brooks & Dunn
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae
The War And Treaty
“Fast Car”; Luke Combs; Producer: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathon 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 f/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells; Mix Engineer: Joey Moi
Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville; Producers: John Osborne, John Peets; Mix Engineers: Gena Johnson, John Osborne
Bell Bottom Country; Lainey Wilson; Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
Gettin’ Old; Luke Combs; Producers Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton; Mix Engineers: Michael H. Brauer, Jim Cooley, Chip Matthews
One Thing At A Time; Morgan Wallen Producers: Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome, Joey Moi, Cameron Montgomery Mix Engineers: Josh Ditty, Joey Moi, Eivind Nordland
Rolling Up the Welcome Mat; Kelsea Ballerini Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Alysa Vanderheym; Mix Engineers: Dan Grech-Marguerat, Alysa Vanderheym
“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
“Save Me”; Jelly Roll w/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 w/Katelyn Brown; Producer: Dann Huff
“Wait In The Truck”; Hardy f/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells
“We Don’t Fight Anymore”; Carly Pearce f/Chris Stapleton; Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Carly Pearce
“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 f/Lainey Wilson; Director: Justin Clough