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Remember Who Country Music’s First Reality TV Show Winner Was?

Sawyer Brown

Before there was Scotty McCreery, Carrie Underwood or even Kelly Clarkson, another country act got a start on a television singing competition. Ed McMahon’s ‘Star Search’ named its first Vocal Group winner in 1983, and helped launch the career of a pack of hitmakers as reliable as any in the early to mid-90s. 

Sawyer Brown just wanted a professional video tape to promote their band, but ended up taking home the $100,000 grand prize 29 years ago tomorrow (Feb. 24). Soon they were playing shows bigger than they could imagine, including Carnegie Hall in New York City. “I don’t even think we could hear, the people were screaming so loud,” they recall in the video interview with Dick Clark seen below.

“You are the new brand of country music that we all love,” Clark says. Is there a better endorsement a young band can have than one from the world’s oldest teenager?

Yes, you can hear the conversation over drummer Joe Smyth’s loud pants and jacket.

Remember When Garth Brooks Played for the New York Mets?

Watch Sawyer Brown Talk About Their ‘Star Search’ Experience

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