Classic CMA Awards Moments, #20: Johnny Cash Comes Around (1969-2003)

#20: Johnny Cash Comes Around

The incomparable career of Johnny Cash includes flashes of genius at the CMA awards. Cash’s legacy features nine CMA awards, but most of his victories were part of two spectacular evenings that rank among the ceremony’s most memorable moments.

The first live televised CMA awards show occurred in 1968, and Johnny Cash earned the Album of the Year trophy that evening for At Folsom Prison. The following year, Cash set the standard for the country music crop by picking up five awards that evening, a record that is now shared with Alan Jackson (2002). His wins: Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year (with June Carter), Album of the Year (At San Quentin) and Single of the Year (“A Boy Named Sue”).

Two months after his death at the age of 73, Johnny Cash’s music was recognized once again when he claimed three awards for his collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, American IV: The Man Comes Around. That set won Album of the Year, while the Trent Reznor-written “Hurt,” earned the Single of the Year trophy. Mark Romanek’s chilling visual portrayal of the dark song was named Video of the Year. Cash’s children, John Carter and Kathy, tearfully accepted the awards on his behalf, and the victories proved that the Cash collection of music will continue to endure.

Johnny Cash, “Hurt” (2002):


  1. As much as I liked Cash’s American Recordings, I still think his peak period was from about 1963 to 1975. It would have been nice to se him pick up some more awards, but the CMA was not even founded until after Cash had already recorded some of his greatest works

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