The ACM Awards Didn’t Have an Entertainer of the Year Category for the First 5 Years
Sure, every awards show grows and changes over time. But did you know that the ACM Awards didn't even have an Entertainer of the Year category for the first five years of the ceremony's existence? That's right: What has come to be arguably the most prestigious honor of the annual event didn't even exist when country music's oldest awards show celebrated its first year.
In fact, at the first official ACM Awards show in 1966, the lack of Entertainer of the Year category wasn't the only thing separating those early years from the televised event country fans know and love today. Instead of Entertainer of the Year, artists vied for the honor of Man of the Year. No awards were given out for Song, Single or Album of the Year during that first event, either.
When Entertainer of the Year did become a category in 1971, Merle Haggard was the first artist of ever take home the trophy. He won that year's Male Vocalist of the Year award, too.
However, there was one category back then that the Academy has since retired: In the early '70s, the ACMs included an award for Country Comedy Act. With three trophies to his name, Roy Clark notched that title more times than any other artist.
Not only did the first ACM Awards dole out completely different prizes, but they also lacked the excitement of live television: The cameras didn't show up until 1972, when the show partnered with ABC to broadcast the event.
The ACM Awards show has seen plenty of twists and turns since it launched over five decades ago, but the history of the ACMs has even more twists and turns to it. To learn about Reba McEntire's long history as host, as well as which artists have won the most times, press play above to watch this episode of The Secret History of Country Music, from The Boot's partner site, Taste of Country.
Delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 ACM Awards are set to take place on Sept. 16 at 8PM ET on CBS. This year's ACMs will be broadcast from three venues in Nashville, not Las Vegas, Nev., as in most years. Expect performances from the historic Ryman Auditorium, the iconic Bluebird Cafe and the Grand Ole Opry House, where host Keith Urban will be centered.
The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2020 ACM Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest CMAs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.
LOOK: Every ACM Awards Entertainer of the Year Winner Ever