Here we go! We've made it to the eighties! I'm excited! Can't you tell from all the exclamation points!!
I'm just excited to have made it all the way through the seventies, and now on to a new decade! I'm predicting BIG THINGS for the eighties! A whole regime change, if you will. I sure hope that's true.
Realistically, however, progress came slowly back then to the world of country music. Country wasn't quick to just shove people aside (like they do now). Good grief, when you look at the country music world of today, good old George Strait must be the most stubborn man alive, cuz try as they might, they just can't push him off the cliff.
So, in 1980, we've got some holdovers from previous years.
The INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR was the Charlie Daniels Band. Here's a 1980'ish song:
I think this song was inspired by Ronald Reagan's election. I could be wrong. But Charlie's a big conservative supporter, so I think I'm right.
The INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR was (again!) Roy Clark. And the VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR were the Statler Brothers. Ahhh, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It might have been a new decade, but it was still the same old Roy and Harold, Don, Phil, and Lew.
As you know if you've read any of my 1970's CMA posts, my video options for the Statler Brothers are kind of running dry. But here's one I found that begins with a song by Johnny Cash, with the Statlers singing backup. Then the boys step out front to do "Bed Of Roses".
And, as you heard, Johnny really loves Scandinavia!
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR was a bit of a surprise. Of course, this category had long been dominated by male/female pairings, but 1980 brought something different. A male/male pairing: Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley. Yes, that's right.
This video is of supremely bad quality, but, believe me, it's the best that I could find:
Alas, but a moment in time. A snapshot, if you will. But it still marked a most unusual win; one that could only happen in the year that was; 1980. Two "good old boys", never to be heard from again, but here they were. And they still have that oddly-shaped statuette on their mantles, even to this day.
The ALBUM OF THE YEAR was also sort of an anomaly. It was a soundtrack, with a bunch of Hollywood types, singing the songs of Lorett-y Lynn and Patsy Cline, among others. A soundtrack from, as I recall, the biggest movie of 1980, "Coal Miner's Daughter".
I used to have HBO. And if you know HBO like I know HBO, you know that they repeat movies endlessly and relentlessly. So, back in the day, I think I saw the movie, "Coal Miner's Daughter", approximately 192 times. I can, to this day, quote lines from that movie. I also had a huge crush on Tommy Lee Jones. Course, Tommy's old now (who isn't?), but back then, he was a hunk.
Here (in case you've forgotten) are some scenes from "Coal Miner's Daughter" ("Put the backdrop back on the bed, darlin'.")
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR was a pleasant surprise: Emmylou Harris.
Emmylou got me into country albums. From Elite Hotel to Luxury Liner to Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town, Emmylou's albums were great! And she had a bunch of future legends in her band - like Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell.
You know we always leave Entertainer of the Year 'til last, so let's have a grouping of awards, shall we? Ol' Possum Jones got his act together around this time, and I'm sure we can agree that it paid off big time for him! Some say that this is the best country song of all time. I disagree, but I still think it's a good one, and look what came of it:
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR - George Jones
SINGLE OF THE YEAR - He Stopped Loving Her Today
SONG OF THE YEAR - written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Yes, Barbara won! Another opportunity to get up on stage and give a long......long acceptance speech! As we shall see in future retrospectives, Barbara climbed up on the Ryman stage many, many times to accept many, many awards. And she gave many, many long, rambling acceptance speeches. Sometimes they even ran out of time for the rest of the awards! (okay, I made up that part).
Don't get me wrong. I like Barbara Mandrell. But she did really become full of herself......really quickly. It got to the point, when I was watching the CMA's, when her name would be announced, I would mutter, "oh, for pete's sake", and then wander into the kitchen to make a snack, and when I came back, she was still talking.
But kudos anyway, Barbara, on the first (okay, second) of your many, many awards. Here's a song that I always liked:
HALL OF FAME
Connie B. Gay
Connie B. Gay was a guy - don't let the name fool you. Odd name for a guy, but it maybe stood for Constantine? Mr. Gay was a music executive, and in fact, one of the first people to use the term "country music", as opposed to "hillbilly".
I vote for going back to calling it "hillbilly music". That would clear out some of the riff-raff. Cuz no self-respecting Carrie or Taylor or Tim or Kenny would stoop to calling themselves hillbillies. So, that'd only leave the ones who didn't mind (the good ones).
But, back to Connie B. Gay. He was part of the music scene in Washington, D.C. And he discovered and represented hillbillies - I mean "country artists" such as Jimmy Dean.
Here's a rare find. A clip from the Jimmy Dean Show, with Jimmy stepping in for Don Rich, and singing with Buck Owens and his Buckaroos.
Mr. Gay was also the founding president of the Country Music Association, so I guess if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't even be writing all these dang posts! Thanks, Mr. Gay!
THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS
I think the Sons of the Pioneers are cool. Can't you just picture the cowboys out on the range, rounding up those doggies, yodeling away to their heart's content; something like this:
You'll notice our entertainer of the year is right in there; right in the mix; talking, talking, talking; but finally there's another tune from the Sons, featuring Roy Rogers.
Well, I notice Johnny got in there rather quickly! Took the Country Music Association a bit longer to recognize some earlier pioneers - Faron Young, for example. In fact, that took until the year 2000! But let's not quibble. Johnny deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, and here's a medley of some of his songs (including one of my favorites, "I Still Miss Someone"):
So, there you go. A new decade. A fresh start. One classic country song. One classic movie. A novelty act named duo of the year. A long-winded entertainer. There's a little here for everyone!
I think this is going to be an interesting decade!