Back to news 10/31/16

CMA AWARDS 50: Alan Jackson

CMA AWARDS 50: Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson

He’s been making music for just over 25 years…but in that time span, Alan Jackson has become one of the most-nominated and most-awarded artists in the 50-year history of the CMA Awards – while also providing country music fans with some of the annual event’s most memorable moments.

Alan is a 16-time CMA Award winner…he’s been nominated 81 times, a record second only to his friend George Strait…and he’s one of only five artists to be named CMA Entertainer of the Year three or more times (the others are Strait, AlabamaGarth Brooks and Kenny Chesney). He earned his first CMA nominations – for Album, Single, Song of the Year and the Horizon Award – in 1990. Four years later, in 1995, he was crowned Entertainer of the Year for the first time. And, in 2002, he broke a record previously held by Merle Haggard (since 1970) when he made history by scoring 10 nominations – he would go on to win five, including his second Entertainer of the Year honor…and repeated in that category for a third time a year later.

Along the way, Alan’s become a perennial favorite performer for fans, creating two of what are arguably the most memorable moments in the show’s history. In 1999, when friend and mentor George Jones was invited to perform but told he could only do an abbreviated version of his nominated hit, “Choices,” the legend refused to appear. Alan picked up the protest single-handedly, gesturing to his band moments into his own scheduled performance of “Pop-a-Top” and shifting directly into Jones’ hit song. A couple years later, as the nation was still reeling from the fresh wounds left by the terrorist attacks of 9-11 just two months earlier, Alan unveiled a never-before-heard song that had come to him in the middle of the night just days earlier. A healing nation found solace in the simple question, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning”…turning it into a defining moment in country and American music history.

Alan will perform again as part of this year’s 50th Annual CMA Awards, and he’s one of the artists featured in the all-star “Forever Country” single created specifically to celebrate the CMAs 50th anniversary.

The 50th Annual CMA Awards will broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday (November 2nd) at 8pm ET on ABC.

Audio / Alan Jackson recalls the first time he was named CMA Entertainer of the Year (in 1995).


AJ CMA-50 01 OC: …for me. :32
“Obviously, I was very proud and excited about it. But, at the same time, I almost felt like I wasn’t hardly qualified yet or something. I remember watching that show when I was still in Georgia, before I even hardly thought about being a singer, I guess. But, I don’t know – I just never thought about the Entertainer award up to that point that much. But I was in some good company and…I guess the first time was kind of a surprise for me.”

Audio / Alan Jackson says it was an honor to be named CMA Entertainer of the Year…and it impacted his life and career.


AJ CMMA-50 02 OC: …to wear.  :28
“Within the industry and people that book concerts and, you know, the TV shows and all the thigs that go with the rest of your career, I think it does make a difference to have that title for a while. And it really – that’s…that’s pretty good to be in that small of company, and I definitely feel like it’s a…you know, it’s a badge that not a lot of people have had the opportunity to wear.”

Audio / Alan Jackson recalls his decision to perform “Choices” for George Jones at the 1999 CMA Awards.


AJ CMA-50  03 OC: …out there. :26
“I hadn’t told anybody. Not even my manager…the band…anybody. When we walked out there, before we walked out to do – I was doing an old song ‘Pop-a-Top’ I had out – I told the band, ‘If I stop the song – if I raise my hand and stop the song in the middle of that song, y’all stop.’ I said, ‘I may do something different.’ That’s all I told ‘em. ‘Cause I didn’t want them to know. What I was worried about was if word got out, the CMA’d probably shut me down [and] wouldn’t let me go out there. And so, I had to sneak out there.”

Audio / Alan Jackson still finds it hard to comprehend the impact his song, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” has 15 years after he unveiled it on the 2001 CMA Awards.


AJ CMA-50 04 OC: …like they did. :24
“Even after it was a big hit and everybody was talking about it, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll perform this onstage for a few years in my show, and it’ll probably just go away after, you know, the memory of 9-11 gets less and less [fresh], and I think people won’t want to hear that.’ And I was completely wrong. ‘Cause it just seems like now I couldn’t do a show without  putting it in there. And people, they respond just like they did.”

Audio / Alan Jackson reflects on 50 years of CMA Awards and country music.


AJ CMA-50 05 OC: …in the world. :26
“The interesting thing about country music to me is – just like this 50 year span we’re talking about – you’ve got artists that have been around forever and new artists. And even though the music’s changed…and gone back and forth and up and down over the years, there’s still a similar thread that runs through all of it about what they’re trying to write about and sing about. And the sounds have changed, but, you know, we’ve always had a devotion to our fans just the same as they have to us, you know. The best fans in the world.”

Video / Alan Jackson CMA 50/50