Live shots of Charley Pride, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard
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20 Famous Country Acts' First Grammy Win


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Ever since The Kingston Trio won the Recording Academy's first country-specific prize (Best Country & Western Performance (1958) for "Tom Dooley"), country acts from Nashville and beyond have translated commercial and critical acclaim into Grammy recognition.

The following 20 selections range from foundational artists of the past (Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard) to living legends who are still on the Recording Academy's radar (Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson) and the current stars regularly racking up nominations in country categories (Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton).

It's just 20 examples of country, bluegrass or Americana acts with notable Grammy track records. This list could run much longer and include Shania Twain (five wins from 18 nominations), The Chicks (12 wins from 19 nominations), Little Big Town (three wins from 15 nominations),  Tim McGraw (three wins from 20 nominations) and others.

The years referenced below reflect the release of the song or album in question. Grammy Award ceremonies celebrate musical achievements from the previous calendar year. For example, Alabama's Mountain Music won Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal (1982) on Feb. 10, 1983.

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In addition, win totals do not include Grammy Hall of Fame honors, which are given to "musical recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance," or the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Alabama

Alabama band members backstage during the 26th Annual Grammy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, February 28, 1984 in Los Angeles.

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Alabama's award show dominance in the 1980s brought a pair of Grammy wins (from 13 nominations). The band took home Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal two years in a row: for the albums Mountain Music (1982) and The Closer You Get... (1983).

Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks jumps over the truck he came to Nashville in.

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The Recording Academy hasn't called Garth Brooks' name as often as you might suspect, with one of the most decorated celebrities in all of popular culture picking up two wins from 14 nominations. Brooks' Ropin' The Wind album earned him his first Grammy (Best Country Vocal Performance, Male (1991)).

Johnny Cash

Johnny and June Carter Cash presented at the 1980 Grammy Awards.

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The Man in Black's first of 13 wins from 35 nominations (stretching from the sixth annual Grammy Awards to the 50th) was shared with his wife, June Carter Cash. The duo's signature tune "Jackson" won the 1967 award for Best Country & Western Performance, Duet, Trio or Group.

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Emmylou Harris

American country singer and musician Emmylou Harris in London, 1975. (

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Emmylou Harris is one of the most decorated country and Americana singer-songwriters in Grammy history, winning 13 trophies from 47 nominations. Her first honor (Best Country Vocal Performance, Female) came for the 1976 album Elite Hotel.

Vince Gill

Vince Gill on 7/10/95 in Milwaukee, Wi.

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The Recording Academy loves Vince Gill, as evidenced by 22 wins from 47 nominations. His historic run of success began with 1990's "When I Call Your Name" (Best Country Vocal Performance, Male).

Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard at Veteran's Stadium for the first Farm Aid Concert in Champaign, Illinois.

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The first of two Grammy wins (from a slim 13 nominations) for one of America's all-time greatest songwriters came over 20 years after his mainstream debut. The Hag won Best Country Vocal Performance, Male (1984) for "That's The Way Love Goes."

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson performs live at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca., Feb. 27, 2002.

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Alan Jackson's first of two Grammy victories (from 20 nominations) came for 9/11 reaction song "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)," which won Best Country Song (2002) and was nominated that same year in the all-genre Song of the Year category.

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Waylon Jennings

 CIRCA 1970: Photo of Waylon Jennings Photo

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The first of Waylon Jennings' two Grammy wins (from 13 nominations) came for something that might surprise you: a cover with The Kimberlys of Jimmy Webb's orchestral pop standard "MacArthur Park" (Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal (1969)). His other win (Best Country Vocal Performance By a Duo or Group (1978) for Willie Nelson duet "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys") better lines up with outlaw image expectations.

Alison Krauss

Musician Alison Krauss and Union Station attend the 35th Annual Grammy Awards on February 24, 1993 at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

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A 30-plus-year run of Grammy dominance has netted absurd numbers (27 wins from 42 nominations) for Alison Krauss. Her 2008 Robert Plant collaboration Raising Sand won five of those 27 awards on its own (to put that in perspective, only seven of the 19 additional acts on this list have won five or more Grammys across their careers). It all began when "I Got That Old Feeling" won Best Bluegrass Recording (1990).

Miranda Lambert

Singer Miranda Lambert arrives at the Sony/BMG Grammy After Party at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 10, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Miranda Lambert's on the shortlist of modern country stars with the critical acclaim to regularly score Grammy nominations (23) and wins (three, starting with "The House That Built Me" (Best Female Country Vocal Performance (2010))).

Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty

Charlotte Motor Speedway has always been known for bringing in top entertainment for the fans prior to races. Here country & western superstars Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty perform for the crowd prior to a NASCAR event.

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Duet partners Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty shared their first (and Twitty's only) Grammy win for "After the Fire is Gone" (Best Country Vocal Performance By a Duo or Group (1971)). Lynn's won three Grammys overall from 13 nominations.

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Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson, promoting his record "Red Headed Stranger", appeared at Peaches Records to leave his footprints in concrete.

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The Red Headed Stranger's 10-Grammy haul (from 53 nominations and counting) began when one of his best-known songs, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," won Best Country Vocal Performance, Male (1975).

Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards

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Reba McEntire's mid-'80s emergence as a transcendent country star culminated with her first of three Grammys (from 13 nominations) for "Whoever's in New England" (Best Country Vocal Performance, Female (1986)).

Kacey Musgraves

Singer Kacey Musgraves attends the 56th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2014 in Los Angeles.

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Kacey Musgraves won two trophies for music from 2013: Best Country Song ("Merry Go 'Round") and Best Country Album (Same Trailer Different Park). She took home four more Grammys five years later, including Album of the Year (2018) for Golden Hour. As of 2022, she's been nominated 11 times, most recently for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song (both for 2021's "Camera Roll").

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton at the 19th annual Grammy Awards

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Even a pop culture mainstay on the level of Dolly Parton experienced a season of Grammy snubs. Parton went 0-for-13 on nominations before winning her first of 10 trophies (from 51 nominations) for the album Here You Come Again (Best Country Vocal Performance, Female (1978)).

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Charley Pride

Charley Pride, US Country music singer, wearing a silver jacket and holding a microphone during a live concert performance, circa 1975.

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A gospel project netted the first two of Charley Pride's three Grammys (from 13 nominations). "Did You Think to Pray" won Best Sacred Performance (1971), and "Let Me Live" earned him a Best Gospel Performance (Other Than Soul Gospel) trophy that same year. One year later, Pride took home Best Country Vocal Performance, Male for the album Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers holds his Grammy Award during ceremonies at the 20th annual edition of the awards 2/23. The Best Country Vocal Performance grammy by a male went to Kenny Rogers for his song "Lucille."

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Kenny Rogers won three Grammy awards (from 19 nominations). His first nomination and victory (Best Country Vocal Performance, Male) came for his breakthrough 1977 hit "Lucille." Its chart success set the pace for Rogers' storied solo career, topping the country singles chart and becoming a Top 5 pop hit.

Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton onstage during The 58th GRAMMY Premiere Ceremony at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Twenty-fifteen's Traveler (Best Country Album) and its title track (Best Country Solo Performance) accounted for the first two of Chris Stapleton's five Grammy wins (from 16 nominations). The career-breaking studio album was also in the running for all-genre prize Album of the Year.

Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker attends the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA.

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The title of Tanya Tucker's 2019 single "Bring My Flowers Now" intensified arguments that she'd been snubbed by the Country Music Hall of Fame (she's still not an inductee) and at the Grammy Awards, where she'd gone 0-for-10 as a nominee. She got her due from the Academy the following winter, winning best Country Album for While I'm Livin' as well as Best Country Song for the before-mentioned "Bring My Flowers Now."

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Hank Williams Jr.

Singer/Songwriter Hank Williams Jr. performs at The Omni Coliseum in Atlanta .

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Bocephus won his first and only Grammy (Best Country Vocal Collaboration, 1989) for "Tear in My Beer," a duet with his famous father created using electronic merging technology.

It was a full-circle moment for Williams Jr., who was first nominated by the Academy for the 1964 album Hank Williams Jr. Sings Songs Of Hank Williams.

Read More: These 10 Country Acts Have Never Won a Grammy Award

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