The Song of the Year category at the CMA Awards is one of the most coveted awards handed out at the annual ceremony. The Song of the Year award is unique in that it is awarded to the songwriters of the song, rather than the artist (unless they are also a co-writer). The award assures that country songwriters, the creative minds who make country music's biggest hits happen, are awarded for all their hard work.
This year's CMA Awards will air on November 10th on ABC, and the Song of the Year nominees are as follows: "Forever After All" by Luke Combs, Drew Parker, and Robert Williford, "The Good Ones" by Gabby Barrett, Zach Kale, Emily Landis and Jim McCormick, "Hell of A View" by Casey Beathard, Eric Church, and Monty Criswell, "One Night Standards" by Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally and Ashley McBryde and "Starting Over" by Mike Henderson and Chris Stapleton.
In honor of the upcoming CMA Awards, here's a list of every Song of the Year Winner, from the first CMA Awards in 1967 to today.
1967: Dallas Frazier - "There Goes My Everything"
The first-ever tune to win Song of the Year at the CMA Awards was Dallas Frazier's classic country standard, "There Goes My Everything." The song was famously recorded by Jack Greene in 1966 and spent seven weeks at the top of the country music charts.
1968: Bobby Russell - "Honey"
The 1968 Song of the Year winner was "Honey," written by Bobby Russell and recorded by Bobby Goldsboro. This country tune was released on February 17, 1968 and it sold millions of copies within the first few weeks of being released, becoming the best-selling record of the year.
1969: Bob Ferguson - "The Carroll County Accident"
In 1969, "The Carroll County Accident," a Porter Wagoner hit written by Bob Ferguson, took home the prized Song of the Year award. This tune detailing a mysterious car accident was released in October 1968 and went on to become a hit for Wagoner.
1970: Kris Kristofferson -- "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"
In 1970, Kris Kristofferson took home the Song of the Year award for "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down." The song was originally recorded by Ray Stevens in 1969, but it was Johnny Cash's 1970 version that brought in the award win.
1971 & 1972: Freddie Hart -- "Easy Loving"
It's not often that the same song wins the Song of the Year award two years in a row, but that's what happened in 1971 and 1972 with "Easy Loving." Written and recorded by Freddie Hart and released in 1971, the song became the artist's breakthrough hit, topping the country charts and crossing over to pop.
1973: Kenny O'Dell -- "Behind Closed Doors"
The 1973 CMA Song of the Year was "Behind Closed Doors," Charlie Rich's first hit written by Kenny O'Dell. The song was released in April of '73, and it also won Single of the Year at the CMAs as well as two Grammy Awards.
1974: Don Wayne -- "Country Bumpkin"
In 1974, "Country Bumpkin," written by Don Wayne and recorded by Cal Smith, took home the Song of the Year award at the CMA Awards. This song, which was the title track of Smith's album, shot to the top of the country charts after ten weeks and received Song of the Year from the ACM Awards.
1975: John Denver -- "Back Home Again"
In 1975, John Denver won Song of the Year for his own song, "Back Home Again," written solely by him. The tune from his album of the same name was released in September 1974 and became his first hit on the country music chart.
1976: Larry Weiss -- "Rhinestone Cowboy"
Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" remains one of the legendary singer's most notable tunes, and it was songwriter Larry Weiss who took home the award for Song of the Year for the song at the 1976 CMA Awards. This enormous hit made waves on both country and pop radio, and it won multiple awards at ceremonies such as the ACMs and American Music Awards.
1977: Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum -- "Lucille"
Another legendary tune to take home the Song of the Year award is Kenny Rogers' "Lucille," which was written by Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum. The song was released in January 1977 and topped multiple charts all over the world.
1978: Richard Leigh -- "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue"
Richard Leigh took home the Song of the Year award at the 1978 CMA awards for penning the Crystal Gayle hit, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue." Released in 1977, this song topped charts all over the world and has been covered many times since.
1979: Don Schlitz -- "The Gambler"
Another iconic song to take home the Song of the Year award was "The Gambler" written by Don Schlitz and recorded by Kenny Rogers. In addition to becoming a country classic, this song topped the Country and Pop charts and won Rogers a Grammy Award.
1980 & 1981: Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman -- "He Stopped Loving Her Today"
Another back-to-back Song of the Year win came in 1980 and 1981 with George Jones' legendary tune, "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Songwriters Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam took home the awards for this hit which has stood the test of time in country music.
1982 & 1983: Johnny Christopher, Wayne Carson, and Mark James -- "Always On My Mind"
For the next two years, another song dominated the Song of the Year category at the CMAs, and that song is Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind." Songwriters Johnny Christopher, Wayne Carson and Mark James took home this award two years in a row in 1982 and 1983.
1984: Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley -- "Wind Beneath My Wings"
Before Bette Midler made "Wind Beneath My Wings" famous in 1988, it was recorded by Gary Morris and released in 1983. This version led to the songwriters, Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley, taking home the Song of the Year award in '84. Of course, once Midler released her version, the writers received much more than just trophies.
1985: Lee Greenwood -- "God Bless The USA"
Country artists have a way of capturing the spirit of the USA in their music and one of the best to do it is Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The USA." This tune, recorded and solely written by Greenwood, won Song of the Year in 1985 and has gone on to have a life beyond its time on the radio.
1986: Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet -- "On The Other Hand"
Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet are two of country music's most-crowned songwriters, and they won the Song of the Year award in 1986 for Randy Travis's "On The Other Hand." Released in April 1986, this song has become one of Travis's greatest hits.
1987: Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz -- "Forever And Ever, Amen"
Overstreet and Schlitz made their way back to the CMA Awards stage in 1987 for winning Song of the Year yet again for another Travis tune. This time, the two took home the award for "Forever and Ever, Amen," a classic Travis song from his Always & Forever album.
1988: K.T. Oslin -- "80's Ladies"
In 1988, K.T. Oslin became the first woman to win the Song of the Year award at the CMA Awards for her own tune, "80's Ladies." The song was written solely by Oslin and was included on her 1987 album of the same name.
1989: Max D. Barnes and Vern Gosdin -- "Chiseled In Stone"
Vern Gosdin and Max D. Barnes took home the CMA Song of the Year award in 1989 for "Chiseled In Stone," from Gosdin's 1988 album of the same name. This song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Country chart.
1990: Don Henry and Jon Vezner -- "Where've You Been"
Kathy Mattea recorded "Where've You Been," a song written by her husband Jon Vezner and Don Henry for her Willow in the Wind album, and in 1990, it took home the CMA Award for Song of the Year. The emotional tune also won two Grammy Awards in 1990.
Read More: Flashback: Dolly Parton Performs Gospel Classic 'He's Alive' at the 1989 CMA Awards
1991: Vince Gill and Tim DuBois -- "When I Call Your Name"
Vince Gill is one of country music's best songwriters and vocalists, and he has won the Song of the Year award multiple times. The first time he took home the trophy, he won it alongside Tim DuBois for "When I Call Your Name" from Gill's album of the same name. This song peaked at No. 2 on the country charts.
1992: Vince Gill and Max D. Barnes -- "Look At Us"
Vince Gill won the Song of the Year category for the second straight year in 1992 for "Look At Us," which he wrote with Max D. Barnes. This song was released in September 1991 from his album, Pocket Full of Gold.
1993: Vince Gill and John Barlow Jarvis -- "I Still Believe In You"
Gill won the Song of the Year category for his third consecutive time in 1993 for "I Still Believe In You," which he wrote with John Barlow Jarvis. This song was released in June 1992 from his album of the same name and peaked at No. 1 on the country charts while crossing over to Adult Contemporary.
1994: Alan Jackson and Jim McBride -- "Chattahoochee"
Vince Gill's three-peat win streak was cut off in 1994 when Alan Jackson and Jim McBride won the CMA Song of the Year award for Jackson's classic tune, "Chattahoochee." Released in May 1993, this song has gone down in history as one of Jackson's most essential tunes.
1995: Gretchen Peters -- "Independence Day"
Martina McBride wowed audiences in the '90s with her powerful voice, and one of the best songs to showcase her voice is "Independence Day." Although the song didn't crack the Top 10 on the charts, it has become an essential McBride song and it won songwriter Gretchen Peters the CMA Song of the Year award in 1995.
1996: Vince Gill -- "Go Rest High On That Mountain"
Vince Gill couldn't stay way from the Song of the Year category for long, and he won it yet again in 1996 for "Go Rest High On That Mountain." This emotional song has gone down in history as a classic, and Gill has performed it many times at the funerals of country legends.
1997: Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison -- "Strawberry Wine"
It's hard to forget the impact of Deana Carter and her 1996 hit, "Strawberry Wine," and one of the many accolades the song received was the coveted CMA Song of the Year award in 1997. The award went to songwriters Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison, and the tune was also nominated for a Grammy Award and an ACM Award.
1998: Steve Wariner and Billy Kirsch -- "Holes In The Floor of Heaven"
In 1998, Steve Wariner illustrated heaven in his sweet song, "Holes In The Floor Heaven," and the tune earned Wariner and co-writer Billy Kirsch a Song of the Year award at the 1998 CMAs. The song also took home the Song of the Year award at the ACMs and Wariner recorded a new version of the tune in 2005.
1999: Robin Lerner, Annie Roboff, and Beth Nielsen Chapman -- "This Kiss"
Faith Hill ruled '90s country and pop music, and one of her biggest hits was "This Kiss." The tune was written by three women: Robin Lerner, Annie Roboff and Beth Nelson Chapman, and it earned all three songwriters the CMA Song of the Year award in 1999.
2000: Tia Sillers and Mark D. Sanders -- "I Hope You Dance"
Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" was one of the biggest hits of the early 2000s and it was honored as such at the CMA Awards by earning the Song of the Year award in 2000. The tune also won Single of the Year, Best Country Song at the Grammy's and multiple other awards.
2001: Larry Cordle and Larry Shell -- "Murder on Music Row"
Larry Cordle and Larry Shell lamented the evolution of country music with their tune, "Murder on Music Row." Originally recorded by Cordle, the tune was covered by George Strait and Alan Jackson in 2000 and went on to win the CMA Song of the Year award for Cordle and Shell in 2001.
2002: Alan Jackson -- "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"
After the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, country music artists reacted by writing songs, and one of the most emotional songs written about the attacks is Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)." This song deservedly won the Song of the Year award at the 2002 CMAs, as well as multiple ACM Awards and one Grammy.
2003: Doug Johnson and Kim Williams -- "Three Wooden Crosses"
A Randy Travis song won the Song of the Year award yet again in 2003 with "Three Wooden Crosses." The gospel-influenced tune, written by Doug Johnson and Kim Williams, was also Travis's 16th No. 1 single.
2004: Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman -- "Live Like You Were Dying"
Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols earned their first Song of the Year awards for "Live Like You Were Dying," which was recorded by Tim McGraw for his 2004 album of the same name. The song also won Single of the Year at the CMAs, Single and Song of the Year at the ACMs and the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
2005: Bill Anderson and Jon Randall -- "Whiskey Lullaby"
Country music is no stranger to sad songs, and one of the saddest is "Whiskey Lullaby," recorded by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss. The song was written by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall, and the two took home the Song of the Year award for it in 2005.
2006: Craig Wiseman and Ronnie Dunn -- "Believe"
Craig Wiseman won the Song of the Year award yet again in 2006 for "Believe," alongside Ronnie Dunn. The tune was recorded by Brooks & Dunn for their Hillbilly Deluxe album, released in October 2005.
2007: Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon, and Jamey Johnson -- "Give It Away"
Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson teamed up to write "Give It Away," which was recorded by George Strait and released in 2006. The song became the King of Country Music's 41st No. 1 hit and it won the writers the Song of the Year award in 2007.
2008: Jennifer Nettles -- "Stay"
As country music evolved, songs written by one sole writer became few and far between, but Jennifer Nettles took home the Song of the Year award in 2008 for "Stay," which she wrote alone. The song was recorded by Sugarland (of which Nettles is the lead singer) and landed at No. 2 on the charts.
2009: Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller, and James Otto -- "In Color"
Jamey Johnson's "In Color" was one of the biggest songs of 2008 and 2009, and it was awarded with the Song of the Year award at the CMAs in 2009. The award was accepted by songwriters Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto.
2010: Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin -- "The House That Built Me"
One of Miranda Lambert's most essential tunes, "The House That Built Me," took home the Song of the Year award in 2010. The trophy was awarded to songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, who penned the nostalgic No. 1 hit.
2011: Kimberly Perry -- "If I Die Young"
The Band Perry's Kimberly Perry became the next solo female writer to win the CMA Song of the Year award when she took it home for "If I Die Young" in 2011. This tune, recorded by The Band Perry for their self-titled debut album, also reached the top spot on the Country charts and crossed over to pop charts as well.
2012: Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton -- "Over You"
Then-married couple Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton took home the CMA Song of the Year award in 2012 for their emotional song, "Over You," recorded by Lambert. The duo wrote the song about the passing of Shelton's brother, Richie, and it reached the top spot on the country charts.
2013: Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary -- "I Drive Your Truck"
Another emotional tune won the Song of the Year award in 2013, and that song is "I Drive Your Truck." Recorded by Lee Brice for his Hard 2 Love album, this song earned the award for songwriters Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary.
2014: Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves -- "Follow Your Arrow"
Kacey Musgraves is an artist whose music has been widely recognized at awards shows, and her free-spirited 2013 single, "Follow Your Arrow," got its time to shine at the 2014 CMA Awards. It took home the award for Song of the Year for songwriters Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark.
2015: Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, and Hillary Lindsey -- "Girl Crush"
When Liz Rose, Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsay get together, a hit song is likely to come out of it. One of the tunes crafted by these women was "Girl Crush," which was recorded by Little Big Town for their Pain Killer album. The song not only took home the Song of the Year trophy at the CMAs, but it topped the country charts, crossed over to the pop charts, and received two Grammys.
2016: Lori McKenna -- "Humble and Kind"
Famed Nashville writer Lori Mckenna struck gold again when she wrote "Humble and Kind," which was recorded by Tim McGraw. The sweet song made a big impact at country radio and it earned McKenna her second consecutive CMA Song of the Year award in 2016.
2017: Taylor Swift -- "Better Man"
Taylor Swift made her mark in country music in the late 2000s to the early 2010s, but she returned in a sense in 2017 when she wrote "Better Man." The song was recorded by Little Big Town for their album, The Breaker, and in addition to earning the Song of Year award for Swift, it also took home a Grammy award.
2018: Mike Henderson and Chris Stapleton -- "Broken Halos"
By 2018, Chris Stapleton was no stranger to sweeping up at award shows, and he won his first CMA Song of the Year award in 2018 for "Broken Halos." Written alongside Mike Henderson, the song was included Stapleton's album, From A Room: Volume 1.
2019: Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, and Robert Williford -- "Beautiful Crazy"
Once Luke Combs hit the country music scene, there's been no stopping him, and he snagged the CMA Song of the Year award in 2019 for "Beautiful Crazy." The sweet country ballad was written by Combs, Wyatt B. Durrett III and Robert Williford, and it's also been certified 2x Platinum.
2020: Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, and Laura Veltz -- "The Bones"
At the latest CMA Awards ceremony in 2020, Maren Morris and co-writers Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz took home the Song of the Year Award for "The Bones." The song from Morris's Girl album became a worldwide hit and also earned the CMA Single of the Year award and the ACM Song of the Year award.
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