ACM Awards 1994: Alan Jackson Sends Middle Finger To Producers To Protest Pre-Recorded Track By Having Drummer Play With No Sticks

Alan Jackson
ACM Awards

We’re only a few days away from the ACM Awards, so it’s time to take a look back at some of the best moments from the show over the years.

For this one we’re taking it back to 1994, and what, in my mind, is the greatest country music awards show moment in history.

And what a year that was… I was 6 years old, The Lion King was in theaters, O.J. was running from the cops in a white Ford Bronco, beloved rock legend Kurt Cobain passed away, Slick Willie was the President of the United States, and…

Alan Jackson was giving a big fat middle finger to the Academy of Country Music with his performance of “Gone Country” at the 29th Annual ACM Awards

Although Jackson ended up taking home quite a few awards and was nominated for a bunch of others, he got pissed when producers told him that he had to perform with a pre-recorded backing track.

Alan was, and still is, an old school dude. You don’t lip sync, you don’t use pre-recorded tracks… live music is live music and there is no faking it.

So what did Alan do?

He sent his drummer Bruce Rutherford out there with no drumsticks.

That’s right, ol’ Bruce is behind the drum kit just waving his hands around like a mad man at nothing… absolutely priceless.

What a legend.

You see, Alan knew how to make a point, ruffle some feathers, and let his opinion be known without making a huge scene. A guy like Waylon Jennings would just walk his ass out and not perform (which he did, a number of times).

But Alan knew how to be subtle, yet effective…

Alan, who was also co-hosted the ceremony alongside Reba McEntire that night, was also interviewed by Dick Clark back stage. And of course, Dick had some questions about why Alan was wearing a cutoff Hank Williams shirt at a rather formal gathering.

Alan’s response was classic Alan:

“Well, I love Hank, and I get a lot of gifts on the road playing, and a fan gave me this shirt.

I just saw it in the closet before I came out here this weekend and I grabbed it and said, ‘I’m gonna wear it for my song,’ you know, ‘Gone Country.’ Hank’s country.”

Like I said… LEGEND.

At the CMA Awards in 1999, Alan would also deliver a protest performance of George Jones’ “Choices” after the show cut Possum’s own performance slot down.

Alan thought it was bullshit that they wanted George Jones to cut time (George declined to even attend after that), and in a show of solidarity, Alan performed a George Jones song during the second half of his own time on stage.

Message received…

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2024 ACM Awards Nominees

And the nominees are…

The ACM Awards will stream exclusively on Prime Video on Thursday, May 16th at 8 p.m. EST from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Kane Brown
Luke Combs
Jelly Roll
Cody Johnson
Chris Stapleton
Morgan Wallen
Lainey Wilson

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Kelsea Ballerini
Ashley McBryde
Megan Moroney
Kacey Musgraves
Lainey Wilson

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Luke Combs
Jelly Roll
Cody Johnson
Chris Stapleton
Morgan Wallen

DUO OF THE YEAR

Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae
The War And Treaty

GROUP OF THE YEAR

Flatland Cavalry
Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Zac Brown Band

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Kassi Ashton
Ashley Cooke
Hannah Ellis
Kylie Morgan
Megan Moroney

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

ERNEST
Kameron Marlowe
Dylan Scott
Conner Smith
Nate Smith

NEW DUO OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

Neon Union
Restless Road
Tigirlily Gold

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Gettin’ Old – Luke Combs (Producer: Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton, Luke Combs)
Higher – Chris Stapleton (Producer: Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Morgane Stapleton)
Leather – Cody Johnson (Producers: Trent Willmon)
One Thing At A Time – Morgan Wallen (Producers: Joey Moi, Cameron Montgomery, Charlie Handsome, Jacob Durrett)
Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (For Good) – Kelsea Ballerini (Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Alysa Vanderheym)

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Burn It Down – Parker McCollum (Producer: Jon Randall)
Fast Car – Luke Combs (Producers: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton)
Last Night – Morgan Wallen (Producer: Joey Moi, Charlie Handsome)
Need A Favor – Jelly Roll (Producer: Austin Nivarel)
Next Thing You Know – Jordan Davis (Producer: Paul DiGiovanni)

SONG OF THE YEAR

Fast Car – Luke Combs, Songwriters: Tracy Chapman
Heart Like A Truck – Lainey Wilson, Songwriters: Dallas Wilson, Lainey Wilson, Trannie Anderson
Next Thing You Know – Jordan Davis, Songwriters: Chase McGill, Greylan James, Jordan Davis, Josh Osborne
The Painter – Cody Johnson, Songwriters: Benjy Davis, Kat Higgins, Ryan Larkins
Tennessee Orange – Megan Moroney, Songwriters: Ben Williams, David Fanning, Megan Moroney, Paul Jenkins

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Can’t Break Up Now – Old Dominion, Megan Moroney
Different ‘Round Here – Riley Green (Ft. Luke Combs)
I Remember Everything – Zach Bryan (feat. Kacey Musgraves)
Man Made A Bar – Morgan Wallen (feat. Eric Church)
Save Me – Jelly Roll (with Lainey Wilson)

VISUAL MEDIA OF THE YEAR

Burn It Down – Parker McCollum
Human – Cody Johnson
In Your Love – Tyler Childers
Next Thing You Know – Jordan Davis
Tennessee Orange – Megan Moroney

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

Jessie Jo Dillon
Ashley Gorley
Hillary Lindsey
Chase McGill
Josh Thompson

ARTIST-SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

Zach Bryan
ERNEST
HARDY
Chris Stapleton
Morgan Wallen

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