Country Music Memories: Johnny Cash Wins Record-Setting Five CMAs


Fifty-two years ago today (Oct. 15, 1969) was a day Johnny Cash likely never forgot. It was on that date that he won five CMA Awards, becoming the first artist to take home that many trophies in one night.

The Man in Black won Male Vocalist of the Year; Album of the Year, for At San Quentin; Single of the Year, for “A Boy Named Sue”; Vocal Group of the Year, with his wife, June Carter Cash; and the night’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year. Cash was actually nominated six times, but it would have been impossible to win all six trophies, as he had received two nominations for Single of the Year, the second for “Daddy Sang Bass.”

Glen Campbell followed Cash in the list of nominees with the most nods in 1969; he’d earned five nominations, although he ended the evening empty-handed. That year’s CMA Awards ceremony, the third annual, was held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

Cash won a total of nine CMA Awards throughout his illustrious career; however, after 1969, he didn’t win another one until 2003, when he was awarded three trophies two months after his death on Sept. 12, 2003. That year, he won for Album of the Year, for American IV: The Man Comes Around, as well as Music Video of the Year and Single of the Year, both for “Hurt.”

This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.

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