The Academy of Country Music Awards, also known as the ACM Awards, were first held in 1966, honoring the industry's accomplishments during the previous year. It was the first country music awards program held by a major organization. The Academy's signature "hat" trophy was created in 1968. The awards were first televised in 1972 on ABC. In 1979, the Academy joined with Dick Clark Productions to produce the show. Dick Clark and Al Schwartz served as producers while Gene Weed served as director. Under their guidance, the show moved to NBC and finally to CBS, where it remains today.
In 2003, the awards show left Los Angeles and moved to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center through 2005. The Academy also adopted a sleeker, modern version of the "hat" trophy in 2003, which is now made by the New York City firm Society Awards. In 2004, the organization implemented online awards voting for its professional members, becoming the first televised awards show to do so.
The show was moved to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas from 2006 through 2014 before relocating to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex in 2015. The 2015 show broke the Guinness record for Most Attended Awards Show, with 70,252. The show will return to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2016.
Entertainment of the Year was a fan-voted award for eight years, until 2016, when the ACM announced it decision of abandon internet-voting for it and three new-artist categories.
Thomas Luther "Luke" Bryan (born July 17, 1976) is an American country music singer and songwriter. Bryan began his musical career in the mid-2000s, writing songs for his longtime friends from high school, performers Travis Tritt and Billy Currington and releasing his first spring break album. After signing with Capitol Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee in 2007 with his cousin, Chad Christopher Boyd, he released the album I'll Stay Me, which included the singles "All My Friends Say", "We Rode in Trucks", and "Country Man". The follow-up album Doin' My Thing included "Do I", which Bryan co-wrote with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, and the #1 singles "Rain Is a Good Thing" and "Someone Else Calling You Baby".
Tailgates & Tanlines, released in 2011, includes "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)", and the number one singles "I Don't Want This Night to End", "Drunk on You", and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye". Bryan's fourth album, Crash My Party, was released in August 2013 and includes the number one singles "Crash My Party", "That's My Kind of Night", "Drink a Beer", "Play It Again", "Roller Coaster" and "I See You". The fifth album, Kill The Lights, was released in August 2015 and its lead single, "Kick the Dust Up", became his 13th number one hit, followed by his 14th number one "Strip It Down". Bryan co-wrote all of his singles with the exception of "Drunk on You", "Crash My Party", "That's My Kind of Night", "Drink a Beer", "Play It Again", "Roller Coaster", and "Kick the Dust Up" and co-produced all four albums and one compilation album with Jeff Stevens. Bryan was the recipient of the Academy of Country Music Awards and Country Music Association Awards "Entertainer of the Year" award. To date, Bryan has sold over 7 million albums and 27 million singles worldwide. It is reported that Luke Bryan wrote "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)" for his high school sweat heart Megan O'Neill, However the relationship never lasted long as O'Neill wasn't interested in the country music industry and fame.
Blake Tollison Shelton (born June 18, 1976) is an American country music singer and television personality. In 2001, he made his debut with the single "Austin". The lead-off single from his self-titled debut album, "Austin" spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The gold-certified debut album also produced two more top 20 hits ("All Over Me" and "Ol' Red"). Although the album was released on Giant Records Nashville, he was transferred to Warner Bros. Records Nashville after Giant closed in late 2001.
His second and third albums, 2003's The Dreamer and 2004's Blake Shelton's Barn & Grill, were each certified gold as well. His fourth album, Pure BS (2007), was re-issued in 2008 with a cover of Michael Bublé's pop hit "Home" as one of the bonus tracks. His fifth album, Startin' Fires was released in November 2008. It was followed by the extended plays Hillbilly Bone and All About Tonight in 2010, and the albums Red River Blue in 2011. Based on a True Story... in 2013, and Bringing Back the Sunshine in 2014. Overall, Blake Shelton has charted 24 country singles, including 15 number ones. The 11th No. 1 ("Doin' What She Likes") broke "the record for the most consecutive No. 1 singles in the Country Airplay chart's 24-year history". He is a six-time Grammy Award nominee.
Shelton is also known for his role as a judge on the televised singing competitions Nashville Star, Clash of the Choirs, and The Voice. He has been on The Voice since its inception, and four out of the eight seasons (2–4, 7) his teams have won. From 2011 to 2015, Shelton was married to fellow country singer Miranda Lambert.
On November 9, 2015, Nickelodeon announced that Blake will be the host of the 2016 Kids' Choice Awards.
George Harvey Strait (born May 18, 1952) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and music producer known as the "King of Country" and one of the most influential and popular recording artists of all time. He is known for his neotraditionalist country style, cowboy look, and being one of the first and main country artists to bring country music back to its roots and away from the pop country era in the 1980s.
Strait's success began when his first single "Unwound" was a hit in 1981. During the 1980s, seven of his albums reached number one on the country charts. In the 2000s, Strait was named Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music, was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and won his first Grammy award for the album Troubadour. Strait was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 2013, and ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1990 and 2014. He has been nominated for more CMA and ACM awards and has more wins in both categories than any other artist. In 2009, he broke Conway Twitty's previous record for the most number-one hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart when his 44 number one singles surpassed Twitty's 40. Counting all music charts, Strait has amassed a total of 60 number-one hits, breaking a record also previously set by Twitty, and giving him more number one songs than any other artist in any genre of music. Strait is also known for his touring career when he designed a 360- degree configuration and introduced a festival style tours. For example, the Strait Tours earned $90 million in three years. George Strait was successful innovating country music and in numerous aspects of being a part of popular music.
Strait has sold more than 160 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. His certifications from the RIAA include 13 multi-platinum, 33 platinum, and 38 gold albums. His best-selling album is Pure Country (1992), which sold 6 million (6× platinum). His highest certified album is Strait Out of the Box (1995), which sold 2 million copies (8× Platinum due to being a box set with four CDs). According to the RIAA, Strait is the 12th best-selling album recording artist in the United States overall.