Every Country Music Entertainer of the Year Since 1967

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1977
> Entertainer of the Year: Ronnie Milsap
> Most popular song in 1977: It Was Almost Like A Song

Ronnie Milsap won his sole Entertainer of the Year award in 1977 despite being nominated numerous times. He also walked away with the awards for Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for his album “Ronnie Milsap Live,” which was recorded at the Grand Ole Opry. The album spent 24 weeks on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, peaking at No. 2.

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1978
> Entertainer of the Year: Dolly Parton
> Most popular song in 1978: Heartbreaker

After several nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Dolly Parton finally received the CMA nod in 1978, ahead of Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, and Mel Tillis. “Heartbreaker” was one of Parton’s 25 country No.1 hits throughout her career.

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1979
> Entertainer of the Year: Willie Nelson
> Most popular song in 1979: Sweet Memories

Iconic singer-songwriter Willie Nelson won his one and only Entertainer of the Year award in 1979, claiming victory over fellow nominees Crystal Gayle, Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Rogers, and the Statler Brothers. Nelson had released some of his most enduring albums by this point, including “Shotgun Willie,” “Red Headed Stranger,” and “Stardust.”

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1980
> Entertainer of the Year: Barbara Mandrell
> Most popular song in 1980: Years

The country music hit maker and co-host of her own primetime variety show, Barbara Mandrell was the CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1980, buoyed by her country No. 1 “Years,” one of her six country chart-toppers. Mandrell bested Alabama, George Jones, Oak Ridge Boys, and Kenny Rogers for top CMA honors.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1981
> Entertainer of the Year: Barbara Mandrell
> Most popular song in 1981: Wish You Were Here

Barbara Mandrell won her second Entertainer of the Year award in 1981, one year after her first win. Mandrell also co-hosted the ceremony alongside singer-songwriter Mac Davis, and she performed with George Jones. Her song “Wish You Were Here” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in November of that year.