The Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, or the CMAs, are one of country music’s most distinguished events. This year’s ceremony is expected to be no different and will air live Wednesday, Nov. 13, on ABC Television Network. The event will be hosted by country superstars Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, and Reba McEntire.
Along with recognizing the talents of specific artists, songs, and music videos, members of the CMA honor an Album of the Year during each event. Albums are judged on different elements, including artist’s performance, musicianship, engineering, album art, layout, and liner notes.
As the CMA Awards have been held since 1967, there have been 52 Album of the Year winners to date. The artists behind these releases are varied, indicative of shifting trends in country music. Early winners reflect a traditional Nashville sound, which gives way to the stripped-down Outlaw country of the 1970s. The 1980s feature many easy listening-influenced albums, followed by the work of neotraditionalists such as George Strait, Alan Jackson, and early Garth Brooks.
The 21st Century has seen many artists combine pop music with country to great success, with Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert among the honored musicians to win Album of the Year. These are America’s most popular country music stars.
Because the industry professionals who vote for Album of the Year are looking at more than just sales, each year’s choice offers an interesting insight into what was most appreciated in the genre at the time. Sales alone often paint a much different picture. These are the best selling country albums of the last 10 years.
24/7 Tempo reviewed archived data from The Country Music Association (CMA) to determine the winners for the Album of the Year Award going back to the year of the award’s inception in 1967. All data is from the official CMA website.