With husband Doolittle absent (he feared for a disappointing evening), Loretta Lynn made history by becoming the first female to capture the award for Entertainer of the Year.
In 1971, Lynn began a professional partnership with Conway Twitty. As a duo, Lynn and Twitty earned a pair of #1 singles in the twelve months leading up to the 1972 ceremony, “After the Fire Is Gone” and “Lead Me On.” She also achieved a solo #1 with “One’s on the Way,” written by poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein. Her prolific chart presence also included “I Wanna Be Free,” “You’re Lookin’ At Country” and “Here I Am Again,” all Top Ten singles from the year preceding the awards show. So it was no surprise when Lynn shared the Vocal Event of the Year trophy with Twitty and nabbed her second win as Female Vocalist of the Year. The real shock was her victory in the top category, breaking the five-year stranglehold by male artists.
Lynn would secure eight CMA awards in her career, cementing her place as one of the finest women to ever sing or write country music. That status was confirmed by induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988.
Loretta Lynn, Hall of Fame induction (1988):