“Somewhere Tonight” James Otto Written by Patrick Russell Davis, Corey Crowder and James Slater James Otto’s name and voice will likely be familiar to anyone who was listening to country radio in the latter half of 2007, but hearing his new single “Somewhere Tonight”, one wouldn’t even know that it was the same artist who once rode the airwaves with the soulful, organic “Just Got Started Lovin’ You.”
“Trailer Hitch” Kristian Bush Written by Brandon Bush, Kristian Bush, and Tim Owen It’s not entirely without precedent. When Diana Ross left the Supremes, their first single without her did better than her first solo release. Ringo Starr managed to score two #1 pop hits before John Lennon reached the top as a solo act. Peter Gabriel was supposed to be the indispensable talent of Genesis, but they did better when they gave Phil Collins the mic. Even country acts like Highway 101 and Restless Heart have seen the same phenomenon occur.
Since its inception, the top honor an artist could be given at the Country Music Association awards is this one: Entertainer of the Year. Originally a revolving door of winners, the winner in early years was often not even nominated the following year. In 1981, Barbara Mandrell became the first artist to win the award twice. Alabama succeeded her with a three year run from 1982-1984. Fourteen years later, Garth Brooks became the first artist two win four times, a feat later matched by Kenny Chesney in 2008.
Here’s a look back at the award from the very beginning, along with some facts and feats about the category and its nominees.
- Bill Anderson
- Eddy Arnold
- Merle Haggard
- Sonny James
- Buck Owens
One year after being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Eddy Arnold was named the very first Entertainer of the Year at the inaugural CMA awards in 1967. Don’t assume it was a sympathy vote. Arnold had three #1 hits in the twelve months leading up to the ceremony, as he was in the middle of his impressive mid-sixties comeback, a period best defined by the 1965 classic, “Make the World Go Away.” He remains the only member of the Hall of Fame to win this award after being inducted.
The very definition of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, two struggling solo artists came together in the nineties and became the most c0mmercially successful duo in music history.
For a look back at the other major categories, visit our CMA Awards page. 2010 Luke Bryan Easton Corbin Jerrod Neimann Chris Young Zac Brown Band Usually there isn’t this much turnover in this race unless most of last year’s nominees are ineligible. This year, only one of the four eligible nominees from last year – Zac Brown Band – earns a nomination. With their massive success and their multiple nominations, they’ve got an excellent shot at winning. Then again, Easton Corbin is elsewhere on the ballot, too. It could be a horse race. 2009 Randy Houser Jamey Johnson Jake Owen Darius Rucker Zac Brown Band Thirteen years after winning the Best New Artist Grammy as part of Hootie & The Blowfish, Darius Rucker won the country music equivalent, adding an exclamation point to the most successful pop-to-country crossover in a generation. 2008 Jason Aldean Rodney Atkins Lady Antebellum James Read More
100 Greatest Women #66 Paulette Carlson (Highway 101) Few vocalists better illustrate the transition from the new traditionalist revival of the mid-eighties to the country boom in the early nineties than Paulette Carlson. As the lead singer of Highway 101, her bombastic vocals were wedded to an aggressive production that borrowed from rock without compromising its twang, heralding the arrival of the new sound that would make country the most popular music in the nation. Before she was the feisty frontwoman of Highway 101, Carlson was already making a name for herself on Music Row. Her songwriting talent earned her a staff writing position at Silverline/Goldmine Publishing, and artists as prominent as Tammy Wynette recorded her material. With her expressive voice, it was no surprise that she landed a solo deal. But despite critical praise, her singles for RCA went nowhere. She moved back to her home state of Minnesota, Read More