Remember the Most Uncomfortable Awards Show Moment Ever?
These days, the CMA Award Entertainer of the Year is usually well-respected and receiving the award is a great honor. However that wasn’t the case in 1975, when the award was given to John Denver. In fact, Charlie Rich got all hot and bothered (literally!) when he had to announce Denver as the winner.
Way back at the 1975 CMA Awards, the 1974 Entertainer of the Year took the stage to present the newest winner. Since Rich had the honor the previous year, it was him that had to awkwardly make the announcement. When the Silver Fox took the stage, he was met with a horrendous laugh track which just added to the moment’s uncomfortable nature.
As soon as he had the award in his hand, it was all downhill from there. He stumbled to find his words, mumbling that the award was “the most beautiful thing in the world.” He joked that the nominees were suffering just like he did when he was in their position before finally announcing the nominees in the category — Denver, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Milsap and Conway Twitty. To make things even more weird, when he announced Lynn’s name he propositioned her with a date.
“And the winner…” Rich said as he fumbled with the world’s cheapest envelope. He then grabbed a lighter from his pocket and set the card on fire saying, “my friend, John Denver.” Denver was live from a satellite feed and was lucky enough not to see the shenanigans — instead he accepted the award humbly and graciously.
The event was the beginning of the end for Rich, who was both blacklisted from future CMA Awards and was met with record sales that started to dip. Later, Rich admitted that he was under the influence of both prescription medications and gin and tonics.