The Academy of Country Music Awards, also known as the ACM Awards, was first held in 1966 to honor country music’s achievements and successes during the prior year. It was the genre’s first awards program hosted by a major organization, with the hopes of propelling country music into the public spotlight.
Two years later, its signature hat trophy was created and given as an award in various categories, such as Male and Female Artists of the Year, Song of the Year, and the most prestigious and the biggest competitive category, Entertainment of the Year.
In 1971, the Academy of Country Music hailed the first-ever Entertainer of the Year – and it was none other than Merle Haggard. He took home the grand prize against a legendary lineup of nominees, including Charley Pride, Elvis Presley, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Cash.
At this time, Haggard was one of the most successful and prominent country singers in the world. His songs “The Fightin’ Side of Me” and “Okie from Muskogee” earned large-scale airplay. He is enjoying a hugely successful artistic and commercial run, amassing more than twenty No. 1 country singles since 1966
Since then, the most coveted award has been given to some of the genre’s best and brightest.
Some Of The Most Notable Winners Of Entertainer Of The Year Award
Ever since The Academy of Country Music Awards instituted their top award for Entertainer of the Year, it has been handed out to each one who deserves it.
Some of the most notable winners include Garth Brooks, who has the most Entertainer of the Year wins. He walked off with the award six times – including one year that he wasn’t able to attend in person because his wife gave birth to their daughter the very same day. Other big winners are Alabama, Kenny Chesney, and George Strait.
Taylor Swift also earned the prestigious award – not once but twice – before she went pop. Other female acts who have won the award are Loreta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Carrie Underwood.
How about you? Who is your favorite Entertainer of the Year?
ACM, merle haggard