I don't like to prejudice you right off the bat, but welcome to one of the most boring awards years ever!
Yes, 1982. I think people were feeling kind of apathetic. "Oh, just pick someone. We don't really care."
And, in scanning the news events of the year, it appears that nothing really happened.
Even in pop culture, things looked bleak. The most popular TV shows were horrid - empty calories, to be sure: Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon Crest, The Love Boat, Magnum, PI, The A Team:
Popular music? Ish. Here are some of the hit songs: Ebony and Ivory, Abracadabra (I wanna reach out and grab ya), I Can't Go For That (oh no - no can do!), I Love Rock and Roll (which is basically the title repeated over and over).
The movies were atrocious. If it hadn't been for E.T., I think everyone would have just stayed home and watched The Love Boat.
So, that kind of tells you what's coming, in the world of the CMA awards.
To start things off, CHET ATKINS was named INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR for the thousandth time. Again, who doesn't love Chet Atkins? But I'm thinkin' there were some other guys around, playing instruments, too.
The VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR once again were DAVID FRIZZELL and SHELLY WEST. As I mentioned in my 1981 post, there are no videos available of David and Shelly performing. Now, seeing as how one can find pretty much anything they could ever dream of on YouTube, I just have this nagging suspicion that there's some kind of legal stuff involved with the "no videos" situation.
But, two can play at that game.
If we can't have David and Shelly, then let's go with the relatives. First, here's Mom:
Despite the hair, this is still one of the best country songs ever (and Dottie wrote it).
And now - David's brother:
Wow, one of Merle Haggard's heroes - can you tell? I never realized just HOW similar their voices are. Hearing this (and not seeing it), I would be hard-pressed to tell if it was Lefty or Merle.
So, the lack of David/Shelly videos actually opened up an opportunity for me to post some superior performances. Ha ha! I win again!
The INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR and VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR were once again ALABAMA. The introduction to this video states 1983, but this song was released in 1982 - I looked it up. With introductions by two of my all-time faves, Tammy Wynette and Ray Stevens, here's Mountain Music:
Some great fiddling by Jeff Cook!
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR was awarded to someone new this time - JANIE FRICKE.
An interesting fact about Janie is that she began her career as a background singer in Nashville. During that period, she recorded an uncredited vocal part for a single released by Johnny Duncan, "Stranger" (written by Kris Kristofferson). Nobody knew who the female singer was, and there was a bunch of speculation about who it could be. (Hers was, to me, the best part of the recording). This event led to Janie's solo recording career. Again, there is no video of this song, but here's a nice picture of a radio to look at while you listen to it:
And here's the actual Janie, in person:
It's relatively easy to wrap up three categories at once; those being SINGLE OF THE YEAR, ALBUM OF THE YEAR, and SONG OF THE YEAR.
Ya gotta love Willie. He's just a likeable guy. Watching him perform, you just feel relaxed (as is Willie from......well, you know).
So, Willie scored big at the 1982 awards, as did writers Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James, with:
ALWAYS ON MY MIND - Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year
(How many writers does it take to write a hit song? Insert your own punch line here.)
Kind of an interesting development in 1982 was that the person who won the HORIZON AWARD (for best newcomer) also won the MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR award. I guess his career was on a fast track!
Well, this guy has had quite a career, and to think it all started with the Horizon Award. Ricky is a bluegrass artist at heart, but he managed to co-mingle bluegrass and country and shake up country music a bit.
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR - RICKY SKAGGS
(This is one of them new-fangled "music videos". Sorry I couldn't find any older live performances by Ricky, so this'll have to do.)
That leads us, of course, to the big event of the evening, ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.
I'll just say right now, I blew it by posting their "better" song already above, but since I want to stay chronologically correct, here's a song that was released in 1981, just in time for the 1982 awards.
Don't worry - they had A BUNCH of other songs, and won A BUNCH of other awards in years to come, so there'll be more opportunities to watch:
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR - ALABAMA
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
There were three inductees in 1982. I think the CMA figured they'd better start playing catch-up, and fast.
This whole CMA blogging thing has given me an education in the roots of country music, since I am unfamiliar with some of these names. For example, Roy Horton.
Roy started his career around 1939, as a bass player. He backed up a guy called Red River Dave (not to be confused with my Red River Dave).
In the 1940's he became a promoter with Peer-Southern Music, and helped to promote the careers of artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, Bill Monroe, among many others.
Here's some rare (and very cool) footage of Jimmy Rodgers (another of Merle's heroes, by the way), singing, "Waiting For A Train" :
I swear, I had no idea when I posted a video of Lefty above, that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982. Weird coincidence!
Lefty recorded many, many classic songs. For some reason, he's not well remembered, except by the likes of Merle Haggard. And I'm not sure why.
He obviously had a huge influence on other artists (notice in this video how George Jones apparently picked up a few style pointers).
I'm thoroughly enjoying watching videos of Lefty, and while this one is of really poor quality (from an early, early Porter Wagoner Show performance), it's still a lot of fun to see:
Here's one more:
Lefty died at the very young age of 47 in 1975, after a hard-lived life. That happens a lot to true artists. The ones who make it "to December" (like Merle), I think are basically just lucky.
Well, gee. I wrote a whole long blog post about Marty Robbins awhile back, because you can't write about Marty in a couple of sentences. If you want to read my post about Marty, click here (and then scroll up, because for whatever reason, the links always land you at the bottom of the post! It's aggravating.)
So, all I can really say is that when I watch videos of Marty, I realize once again what we lost when Marty passed away. He was only 57.
Marty was also a hero of Merle's, so somehow these posts tend to develop a continuity all their own.
Here's Marty, as only Marty can be:
So, there you go; 1982. If it hadn't been for the Hall of Fame inductees, it would have been a relatively boring year.
But we always manage to find something fun, and this time was no exception.