Here 'tis, the day after Thanksgiving, and a long weekend to boot! What better time to check out the happenings of 1986?
In the news, there was a bunch of bad stuff. Did you ever notice that the yearly news recaps never include any good news? For example, the Challenger space shuttle exploded. Then the Chernobyl thing. See? All bad.
No wonder it's more uplifting to check out the pop culture of the day.
For example, in the Nielsen ratings, this show ranked right up there:
In the world of movies, there was a bunch of serious-minded stuff that nobody remembers. The movie that people really remember from 1986 is this:
In pop music, there was a lot of good stuff (the eighties being my favorite time for rock/pop), but I don't think anything beats this one:
With that bit of 1986 background, let's move onwards and upwards to the CMA Awards.
The strangest award of 1986 was for the INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR. I couldn't actually believe it, so I checked a few other sources, and yes, it's true. The Oak Ridge Boys were the instrumental group of the year! What?? This sort of boggles the mind, because the Oak Ridge Boys are nothing if not a vocal group. I'm thinking, this is the deal. The CMA voters wanted to give the ORB something, and they also wanted to give another group something. So, what to do? Hey! How about this? We'll give the ORB the instrumental award! They won't care. It's an award, after all.
So, yes, the Oak Ridge Boys were the instrumental group of the year. Listen along with me, if you will, and let's see if there's any actual instrumental parts to this song:
Why, yes. There were a couple of brief instrumental interludes. But that was the backup band. I don't care, really. I just enjoyed watching this performance again. After seeing this, though, I think the ORB won for their splendiferous outfits!
The big news, of course, from the 1986 CMA's was that Chet Atkins did not win the INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR award! I know! I'm flabbergasted, too! The award went, this time, to the hardest working fiddler in country music, Johnny Gimble.
Here's a rare video (although a bit out of sync), featuring Connie Smith (a personal favorite!), along with another one of my personal favorites, Merle Haggard, on fiddle, side by side with Mr. Gimble himself.
The VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR was another one of those one-time pairings. But at least, unlike Anne Murray and Dave Loggins from 1985, this song was actually country, so two thumbs up for Marie Osmond and Dan Seals.
Ahhh, remember when country music was melodic and pretty? Watching this performance was a treat.
Dan Seals was on a roll in 1986, as evidenced by his win for SINGLE OF THE YEAR. (Was this really 1986? Where the heck does the time go??) I loved hearing this song again, and the video is pretty cool, too. But I'm a sucker for good dancing. And I won't even quibble about Dan having to play his guitar upside down. Geez, I'm left-handed, too, but some things just need to be done the right way. Anyway, here's "Bop":
Ronnie Milsap was back, and just as good as ever in 1986, with the ALBUM OF THE YEAR, "Lost In The Fifties Tonight". Static-y though it is, this video is still worth watching. One of the best voices ever to come out of country music.
Since this was the VIDEO OF THE YEAR, I searched 'til I found the actual video. It's only right. Here is, "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes", by George Jones.
Watch WHO'S GONNA FILL THEIR SHOES in Music Videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
I don't disagree with the sentiment, but isn't this song basically just naming off a bunch of names? Well, it didn't win for song of the year; just video, so I guess it really doesn't matter.
This, however, was the SONG OF THE YEAR; written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz. And it's a good one. Country; if anyone remembers that genre. "On The Other Hand", recorded by Randy Travis.
Man, I miss country music!
HORIZON AWARD - Randy Travis!
Lucky for me, I get to include one of my top twenty country songs of all time here, "1982":
Wow, Randy looks like a kid here! If you recall, the mid-1980's saw a renaissance in real country music; thanks to artists like Randy, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, and, of course, George Strait. Remember when you could sing along with the radio to songs like this? I don't even listen to country radio anymore, much less sing along to it. What the hell happened? Randy's great, and I'm glad he's got that second career going now. Geez, how did he become obsolete? I think we're a bit too quick to toss people aside, especially when we've got nothing to replace them with.
The FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR was, again, Reba McEntire. This is a video that really kind of ticks me off. I mean, here she is, the long-suffering wife, being all forgiving and understanding, while jerk-face husband is off throwing snowballs with his latest conquest up in someplace called "New England". I think Reba should have kicked his sorry ass to the curb. Really. Who would want to take him back? A$$hole. Get the alimony, Reba. See how long his snowball-throwing friend will stick around when he has $10.00 to his name. Give me a break.
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR - The Judds
Yes, it was because of the Judds that the Oak Ridge Boys got relegated to instrumental group of the year. But, you know, the Judds really did deserve the vocal duo award.
Here's a video of a song from 1986:
Hey, I love the Judds. But watching Naomi really gets on my nerves. Flouncing around in her founcy dress. Trying to act like she's 20. I guess we'll just call it "background singer-itis".
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR - George Strait
Well, what can I say? It's George Strait.
George Strait - The Chair
Video Codes at www.yallwire.com
You know, I'll just say, that if you were of a mind to go out honky tonkin' in the eighties, this was the song that could get a gal out on the dance floor. I know. It's the most romantic song that George ever sang.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR - Reba McEntire
Yup, Reba captured the big award in 1986. Here she is, still curly-permed. Back before she decided that she needed to get some cosmetic enhancements done. Chronologically, of course, this video is not corrrect, but give me a break. I find what I can find.
Hall Of Fame
The Duke Of Paducah
The Duke Of Paducah, aka Whitey Ford (wasn't that a baseball player?) was a country comedian, who was popular from the 1930's through the 1950's. He was a popular staple of the Grand Ol' Opry, as evidenced by this clip (with prelude by Faron Young):
Wesley Rose was a country music publisher, and the son of legend Fred Rose, who nurtured Hank Williams' career. Wesley was of a different era from his father, of course, and therefore promoted songs by writers/acts such as the Everly Brothers, Marty Robbins, Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, Don Gibson, John D. Loudermilk, and Mickey Newbury.
Here's a representation of a song written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant:
All in all, 1986 was a pretty good year for country music. I really can't complain. Most likely, one of the best years ever. We had Randy, George Strait, the Judds, Ronnie Milsap, and a whole bunch of others.
We'll probably never see the likes of this again. But hope springs eternal. So, on to 1987.