On This Day: Loretta Lynn Becomes First Woman to Win CMA Awards Entertainer of the Year in 1972

by Clayton Edwards

Loretta Lynn walked a long road to get where she is today. She made waves early in her career by speaking up for women’s issues. For instance, radio stations banned her song “The Pill” after it came out. They felt that its pro-birth control message was too risque for their audiences. It wouldn’t be the only time the radio pulled one of her songs. She didn’t care. Loretta speaks her mind in her songs. That’s why she’s an icon today.

If her status as an outspoken trailblazing badass didn’t convince you this might. Dolly Parton said that she takes offense to being called the Queen of Country Music. In her eyes, that title belongs to Loretta Lynn or Kitty Wells. In short, Loretta Lynn is the icon that other icons look up to. Now, that’s saying something.

On this day in 1972, Loretta Lynn put another notch in her trailblazing belt. She was the first woman to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year award at the CMA Awards. It would mark the first and only time the country icon took home the coveted award.

Leading up to the event, Loretta Lynn already had a strong career. She already landed 25 top-10 singles including 2 chart-toppers as a solo artist. Additionally, she and Conway Twitty had two songs at the top of the charts. Not long before the awards show, Lynn released her 18th solo album Here I Am Again.

More About Loretta Lynn’s Historic CMA Win

Loretta Lynn had some stiff competition at the CMAs that night. She was up against Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Freddie Hart, and Jerry Reed. Lynn didn’t give a long speech after accepting the award, according to The Boot. During that short speech, she said, “I’d like to say that I’ve won a lot of awards, and this is one that I have been nominated for but never did get.” In fact, the CMA nominated her for the award every year between 1971 and 1975.

It was a huge win for her and other women who came after her. However, it was a bittersweet night for Loretta Lynn. She said, “I’m real happy, but the only thing that I’m kind of sad about is my husband going hunting. He couldn’t make it back in time to share my happiness with me.”

It was six years before another woman took home the Entertainer of the Year Award. That woman was, unsurprisingly, Dolly Parton.

When she took home Entertainer of the Year, Loretta Lynn had one CMA win under her belt. Today, she has a total of eight CMA Awards among several others. More importantly, she kicked the doors open for female entertainers in country music. Long live the Queen.