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Why Did Waylon Jennings Walk Out of the CMA Awards 1970 Show?

CMA Awards 1970: Waylon Jennings Walks Out When They Cut His Performance Time Short

Country music legend, Waylon Jennings, was as authentic as they came. The man didn’t care much about the BS or pageantry that went with the corporate side of the country music industry. The public witnessed this side of his when Waylon Jennings walked out during the CMA Awards 1970 event after the allotted time for his performance was cut short. 

In his autobiography, Waylon: An Autobiography, the musician admitted to being scheduled to perform his hit 1968 song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” during that year’s CMA Awards. Unfortunately, the organizers ran out of time because the show lasted longer than expected. As a result, they asked Waylon to cut his performance short by singing only a verse and a chorus. 

In response, Waylon told the organizers he could give them a lot of time by simply dancing across the stage, grinning, and doing one line of the song. Of course, the organizers didn’t like his attitude, telling him not to get “smart” with them. In addition, they also said they didn’t need him, so he could either do what they wanted or get out. 

Realizing it was true, Waylon Jennings responded by walking out of the CMA Awards 1970 event. 

A few years later, in 1975, Jennings got nominated for several CMA awards, including the coveted Entertainer of the Year. So, this time, the CMAs needed the musician’s full participation. Funnily enough, Jennings thought about walking out of the ceremony again after learning that Jessi Colter didn’t win any awards later that night. 

When Waylon accepted his awards, he expressed his thanks but also revealed they told him to be “nice” and that he didn’t know what they meant by that. You won’t see someone like this anymore these days. However, that’s just a sign of the changing times. 

It’s probably because the world is much different now. Even if we look at the CMA Awards 2022 Complete List of Winners, we can’t think of anyone that’d do what Waylon Jennings did during the CMA Awards 1970 event. He’s just one of a kind, a person that didn’t hesitate to be as authentic as he could be. 

You can watch his 1975 CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year Award acceptance speech in the video below.