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1970 Was The Year We Honored A Very Special Okie. He Was from Muskogee.

Every country music artist would love to have a song nominated by the Country Music Association for ‘Single Of The Year’.  It means you had, not only one of the biggest hit’s of the year, but one of the most important song’s of the year as well.

But to get two song’s nominated for ‘Single Of The year’….in the same year?  Well, that’s pretty special.

And that’s just what Merle Haggard had as the 1970 CMA Award’s Show opened in October of 1970.

What a year it was in country music.  As 1969 rolled into a new decade and 1970 dawned bright in country music, some might argue it was the best 12 month’s in country music history.

Just look at some of the nominees: For ‘Male Vocalist’, names like Cash, Pride, Robbins, Twitty, and the winner, Haggard.

Female Vocalist? 4 eventual Hall of Famer’s plus the legendary Lynn Anderson.  And yes, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Connie Smith didn’t win!  The honor went to Tammy Wynette.

The music was absolutely incredible, some of the greatest song’s in country music’s entire history.

‘Song Of The Year’, which goes to the writer, was an unbelievable match-up between ‘Fightin’ Side Of Me’, ‘My Woman, My Woman, My Wife’, ‘Hello Darlin’ and the eventual winner of the award, the Kris Kristofferson penned Johnny Cash all-time great ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’.


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Other awards that special night went to Porter and Dolly for ‘Vocal Duo Of The Year’, Merle for ‘Album Of The Year’, and Tompall and The Glaser Brothers won for ‘Vocal Group Of The Year’ (this was, of course, before the Statler Brothers would dominate the category through the 1970’s).

The ‘Single Of The Year’ award, which goes to the artist, featured the most of the songs in the ‘Song Of The Year’ category, plus Charley Pride’s ‘I’m So Afraid Of Losing You’.  And that’s where Merle had not one, but two nominees!  Both ‘Fightin’ Side Of Me’ and the song that would win, and one of the most recognizable song’s in the history of country music.


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The biggest award of the year, of course, is ‘Entertainer Of The Year’.  And indeed, this night (and year) belonged to the man we all affectionately call ‘The Hag’.  As the other nominees (Glen Campbell, Roy Clark, Johnny Cash and Charley Pride) looked on, Merle Haggard came away with the top prize of the night,.

While that awards show night nearly 45 years ago was a crowning achievement for the legendary Merle haggard, 1969/70 will always be remembered as one of Country Music’s greatest years.

What Was The CMA's Very First Single Of The Year? Find Out Here

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