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The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Country Music Association Awards, 1980-1989
In the early 1980s, the Urban Cowboy boom had overtaken country music, and the "Nashville Sound", which blended country with pop produced a lush, string-laden music perhaps best exemplified by the work of Barbara Mandrell and the Oak Ridge Boys. But tremendous changes were on the horizon. George Strait was a pioneer of the Neo-Traditionalist movement, with his mix of honky-tonk and swing and old-fashioned cowboy balladry. It was back to basics as country music rediscovered its roots, thanks to the likes of Randy Travis, Hank Williams, Jr. and Highway 101. Pop country groups like Alabama and singers like Reba McEntire provided a smooth transition from old to new during the Eighties, but Neo-Traditionalism was around for the long haul; as the 1980s closed, talents like Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black, and Garth Brooks were set to prove that there was no going back.

Barbara Mandrell

1980
Entertainer
Barbara Mandrell
Song
"He Stopped Loving Her Today"
(Braddock & Putman)
Female Vocalist
Emmylou Harris
Male Vocalist
George Jones
Album
Coal Miner's Daughter (soundtrack)
Single
"He Stopped Loving Her Today"
George Jones
Vocal Group
The Statler Brothers
Vocal Duo
Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley
Musician
Roy Clark

George Jones

1981
Entertainer
Barbara Mandrell
Song
"He Stopped Loving Her Today"
(Braddock & Putman)
Female Vocalist
Barbara Mandrell
Male Vocalist
George Jones
Album
I Believe in You
Don Williams
Single
"Elvira"
Oak Ridge Boys
Vocal Group
Alabama
Horizon Award
Terri Gibbs
Vocal Duo
David Frizzell & Shelly West
Musician
Chet Atkins

Willie Nelson

1982
Entertainer
Alabama
Song
"Always On My Mind"
(Christopher, Carson & James)
Female Vocalist
Janie Fricke
Male Vocalist
Ricky Skaggs
Album
Always on My Mind
Willie Nelson
Single
"Always On My Mind"
Willie Nelson
Vocal Group
Alabama
Horizon Award
Ricky Skaggs
Vocal Duo
David Frizzell & Shelly West
Musician
Chet Atkins


1983
Entertainer
Alabama
Song
"Always On My Mind"
(Christopher, Carson & James))
Female Vocalist
Janie Frick
Male Vocalist
Lee Greenwood
Album
The Closer You Get
Alabama
Single
" Swingin'"
John Anderson
Vocal Group
Alabama
Horizon Award
John Anderson
Vocal Duo
Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson
Musician
Chet Atkins

Reba McEntire

1984
Entertainer
Alabama
Song
"Wind Beneath My Wings"
(Henley, Silbar)
Female Vocalist
Reba McEntire
Male Vocalist
Lee Greenwood
Album
A Little Good News
Anne Murray
Single
" A Little Good News"
Anne Murray
Vocal Group
The Statler Brothers
Horizon Award
The Judds
Vocal Duo
Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias
Musician
Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins

1985
Entertainer
Ricky Skaggs
Song
"God Bless The USA"
(Lee Greenwood)
Female Vocalist
Reba McEntire
Male Vocalist
George Strait
Album
Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
George Strait
Single
"Why Not Me"
The Judds
Vocal Group
The Judds
Horizon Award
Sawyer Brown
Vocal Duo
Anne Murray & Dave Loggins
Musician
Chet Atkins
Music Video
"All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin' Over Tonight"
Hank Williams, Jr.

Hank Williams, Jr.

1986
Entertainer
Reba McEntire
Song
"On The Other Hand""
(Overstreet & Schlitz)
Female Vocalist
Reba McEntire
Male Vocalist
George Strait
Album
Lost in the Fifties Tonight
Ronnie Milsap
Single
"Bop"
Dan Seals
Vocal Group
The Judds
Horizon Award
Randy Travis
Vocal Duo
Dan Seals & Marie Osmond
Musician
Johnny Gimble
Music Video
"Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes"
George Jones

The Judds

1987
Entertainer
Hank Williams, Jr.
Song
"Forever and Ever, Amen"
(Overstreet & Schlitz)
Female Vocalist
Reba McEntire
Male Vocalist
Randy Travis
Album
Always and Forever
Randy Travis
Single
"Forever and Ever, Amen"
Randy Travis
Vocal Group
The Judds
Horizon Award
Holly Dunn
Vocal Duo
Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White
Musician
Johnny Gimble
Music Video
"My Name Is Bocephus"
Hank Williams, Jr.


1988
Entertainer
Hank Williams, Jr.
Song
"80's Ladies"
(K.T. Oslin)
Female Vocalist
K.T. Oslin
Male Vocalist
Randy Travis
Album
Born to Boogie
Hank Williams, Jr.
Single
"Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses"
Kathy Mattea
Vocal Group
Highway 101
Vocal Event
Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt
Trio
Horizon Award
Ricky Van Shelton
Vocal Duo
The Judds
Musician
Chet Atkins

George Strait

1989
Entertainer
George Strait
Song
Chiseled in Stone"
(Barnes & Gosdin)
Female Vocalist
Kathy Mattea
Male Vocalist
Ricky Van Shelton
Album
Will the Circle Be Unbroken, v.II
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Single
"I'm No Stranger to the Rain"
Keith Whitley
Vocal Group
Highway 101
Vocal Event
Hank Williams, Jr., Hank Williams, Sr.
Horizon Award
Clint Black
Vocal Duo
The Judds
Musician
Johnny Gimble
Music Video
"There's A Tear in My Beer"
Hank Williams, Jr. & Hank Williams, Sr.