51 Years Ago: Loretta Lynn Becomes the First Woman to Win Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards
Lynn had just released her 18th studio album, Here I Am Again, when she won Entertainer of the Year. She had already notched 25 Top 10 singles, including the No. 1 hits "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Don't Come Home a'Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind);" the busy singer had also released two albums, We Only Make Believe and Lead Me On, with Conway Twitty, which produced two additional chart-topping singles.
"I'd like to say that I've won a lot of awards, and this is one that I have been nominated for, but I never did get. And this, I think, is the only one that I haven't gotten," Lynn said in her brief acceptance speech. "I'm real happy, but the only thing that I'm kind of sad about is my husband going hunting. He couldn't make it back in to share my happiness with me. Thank you."
Lynn beat out Merle Haggard, Freddie Hart, Charley Pride and Jerry Reed to take home the Entertainer of the Year trophy in 1972. After her win, it was another six years until another woman, Dolly Parton, won Entertainer of the Year, in 1978.
Lynn had only won one CMA Awards trophy, for Female Vocalist of the Year, prior to her big win. Although she has won a total of eight CMA Awards to date, 1972 is the only year in which the singer took home the night's highest honor; she was, however, nominated in the category every year from 1971 to 1975.
One year later, in 1973, Lynn released an album, Entertainer of the Year -- Loretta Lynn, in honor of the momentous occasion. The record, which included the controversial song "Rated X," landed at the top of the charts.
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