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CMT's 40 Greatest TV Moments Countdown
Missing: * Cindy Walker (#12) * Rhonda Vincent (#15) * TNA Wrestling (#22) * Grand Ole Opry (#23) * Farm Aid (#3) * Tom Snyder Show (#7) =============================== * Alan Jackson “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” * Just weeks after writing “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning” about 9/11, Alan Jackson gives an incredibly moving debut of the song at the CMA Awards. It was an unprecedented moment in television history that reached out to Americans during the mourning/recovery period following the biggest terrorist attack on United States soil. Debuting this song on national television made Jackson an ambassador in communicating what America was feeling during this time in U.S. history. * Charlie Rich envelope burning * Charlie Rich’s actions on the 1975 CMA Awards show illustrated what was going on behind the scenes when traditional country took on pop country. When John Denver was nominated for the top award that year, it was very controversial to the country industry. When he won, a drunken or drugged out Rich burned the envelope in protest, with an oblivious and smiling Denver accepting via satellite. * * Naomi’s tearful press conference and farewell concert * One of the most shocking and surprising news stories in country music history, as one of the genre’s biggest stars has to retire at the height of her success, breaking up country’s most celebrated duo. In 1990, Naomi Judd announces, in a famous, tearful and dreamily shot press conference, that her illness will cause her to retire from The Judds. A highly emotional final concert followed. * * Hee Haw debut episode * With its unique cast (Hee Haw honeys), major guest stars (Loretta Lynn) and catchy song lyrics (“Where, oh where, are you tonight?”), Hee Haw was a surprise television hit that became the longest-running TV show in syndication history and had a profound and lasting influence on American pop culture. * * Garth Brooks NBC network special * In 1992, the world was thrown when Garth Brooks’ network concert special showed everyone that country music artists were no longer just singing heartbreak songs standing still behind a microphone. The high energy special, This Is Garth Brooks, gave a kick-start to Brooks’ explosive success and helped country music, in general, at that time. * * Alan Jackson tribute to George Jones on CMAs * Country legends were feeling the pang of rejection in the ‘90s, and Alan Jackson made his respect for George Jones loud and clear. Feeling the CMA Awards lacked respect for him, Jones walked out on a performance spot at the 1999 show when he was asked to cut his song to one minute. During the show, Jackson stopped in the middle of his hit “Pop a Top” to break into a few lines of Jones’ song “Choices” as a tribute. * * Tammy Wynette’s TV interview after kidnapping * A troubled star and the mystery surrounding her personal life came to very public boiling point. In October 1978, a bruised and shaken Tammy Wynette reported to police that she was abducted from a Nashville mall, beaten and abandoned. She gave her only TV interview and raised questions about the truth of her claims. * * Reba McEntire’s red dress * In 1993, the country music industry wondered if Reba McEntire had gone too far by wearing a sexy revealing dress on the CMA Awards. Known for her dramatic performances and flashy fashion sense, McEntire still shocked people when she took the stage to perform “Does He Love You” in a dress with a plunging neckline. * * Johnny Cash “Sunday Morning Coming Down” controversy * In 1970, network censors wanted Johnny Cash to clean up a line in “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (about wanting to be stoned) before performing it on his TV show. Cash sang it with the song’s writer, Kris Kristofferson, proudly sitting in the audience. This moment showed off Cash’s rebel bad-ass style that stayed with him throughout his life, inspiring others to take the outlaw road as well. * * Deana Carter excitement on CMAs * Deana Carter foregoes any prim and proper behavior that’s usually seen on country music award shows and excitedly runs out onstage and jumps into old friend (and ultra-conservative) Ricky Skaggs’ arms, wrapping her legs around him after he announces she won 1997 CMA single of the year for “Strawberry Wine.” * * Garth Brooks hosts SNL * After years of being viewed as a very intense performer, Garth Brooks makes a brilliant move by hosting Saturday Night Live, revealing a zany sense of humor for the very first time. The stand-out skits include Brooks’ encounter with “Mango,” a male stripper who casts his spell on Brooks with hilarious results. * * Hank Williams on Kate Smith * During Hank Williams’ career, television was a new invention and was just working its way into homes, which is why fans and collectors treasure this rare footage. The 1952 moving video of the legendary Williams includes his hits, “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “Cold, Cold Heart.” * * Pat Boone’s toupee * A normally regal and conservative Pat Boone reveals more than he bargained for on national TV and deals with it without missing a beat. While performing a rope trick in 1994 on TNN’s Music City Tonight, Boone snags his hairpiece and sends it flying. * * Loretta Lynn on Fantasy Island * The Coal Miner’s Daughter takes a turn at acting with Heather Locklear cast as her daughter! * * Merle Haggard imitations * A country superstar reveals he’s a fan of country’s other top males by doing dead-on imitations. When Merle Haggard was a guest on a 1972 episode of the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Campbell asks him to do the impressions he does for his concert audiences. While he’s doing Hank Snow, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash and Buck Owen impressions, Cash and Owen join him on stage to give him grief. * * George Jones arrested for DUI * It’s not often the general public has the chance to see a famous country artist get pulled over for DUI. In May 1982, a Nashville cameraman overhears a report on a police scanner and heads to the scene to shoot what’s going on. The moment takes an interesting turn as it mirrors an incident that could be right out of Cops as George Jones, not happy with being pulled over, much less being recorded, makes an attempt to kick the cameraman. * * Johnny Cash’s signature “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” * The man who needed no introduction began every episode of his hit TV show with the same uniquely delivered line … “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” * * Hank Williams Jr. Monday Night Football * Like football and beer, Hank Williams Jr. and Monday Night Football go hand in hand -- one of the highest profile moments for a country music star that steps outside the boundaries of country music. * * Richard Nixon appearance on Grand Ole Opry * The first time a U.S. President has ever visited the Opry, Richard Nixon shows off a very personable side as he visits with the cast and tries his hand at a yo-yo with Roy Acuff on the stage in March 1974. * * Toby Keith TNA Wrestling * Fans see Toby Keith in a way they’d never seen him before … in a wrestling match! Keith makes his national wrestling debut on a NWA/TNA pay-per-view event in June of 2002. * * Waylon Jennings’ Dukes of Hazzard theme song * One of the most recognizable and identifiable themes to a TV show, perfectly capturing the free spirit of the series. Country’s original rebel lent his smooth smoky voice to the show about a new generation of young rebels, the Duke boys. * * Loretta Lynn Crisco commercials * During the ‘70s, country’s most beloved superstar invited TV viewers into her kitchen for a series of hugely popular ads for Crisco. Great commercials, one featured her twin daughters! * * King of the Hill Peggy’s Fan Fair episode * Some of country’s top names poke fun at themselves on a hugely popular animated show. Features Randy Travis, Brooks & Dunn, Wynonna, Martina McBride and Terri Clark. * * Dixie Chicks with Dan Rather * In a 60 Minutes interview, host Dan Rather asked the trio how much money they have in the bank. When Natalie Maines replies, “Not even a million,” Rather rattles off all the CDs they have sold and how much money they should be making. This interview launches a Dixie Chicks-charged investigation into their label’s accounting practices. The battle also became a legal victory for all musicians who felt they were not receiving the proper royalties. * * Patsy Cline “Walking After Midnight” * During a performance on Tex Ritter’s Ranch Party, Patsy Cline illustrates why she’s regarded not only as a world-class vocalist but an entertainer as well. Cline performs in a cowgirl outfit showing her breathtaking command of TV cameras. * * Reba McEntire’s mountain oysters * A usually poised and together Reba McEntire loses it during a television interview. In a 1982 interview on Miller & Company (Nashville interview show hosted by Dan Miller), McEntire tries to explain what mountain oysters are and how to prepare them while giggling uncontrollably. * * Rhonda Vincent microphone snag * A performer’s worst fear as her live television appearance doesn’t go quite as planned. While performing on Music City Tonight, Rhonda Vincent’s mike stand gets caught up in a curtain on the rise, resulting in hilarious attempt to continue singing. * * Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “opening act” * At the 1990 CMA Awards, the show features an unknown artist (very rare), Mary Chapin Carpenter, who performed a song about opening acts who get the shaft from headlining stars with big egos. She got a standing ovation. * * Glen Campbell show open * A part of pop culture of the 1960s and early ‘70s, Glen Campbell would open every single show with a verse of “Gentle on My Mind” and the greeting “Hi! I’m Glen Campbell!” * * Cindy Walker’s Hall of Fame dress * One of the most touching speeches ever given on the CMA Awards. When songwriter Cindy Walker was inducted into the Hall of Fame, she read a poem that told the story of her late mother’s wish that Walker wear a particular dress when she was inducted. Very touching! * * Tammy Wynette’s memorial service * Service was carried live on CNN, a level of respect usually only reserved for heads of state. Stars like Wynonna paid tribute in song and words. In fact, Wynonna remarks that it’s a shame that it took Tammy’s death to get her back on the radio. This statement got Wynonna banned from radio for a while. * * Willie Nelson on The Simpsons * Willie Nelson makes an appearance in the “Behind the Laughter” episode on The Simpsons. * * Vince Gill’s tearful acceptance of song of the year * In a touching 1996 CMA moment, Vince Gill wins for “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” a song be began writing after the death of Keith Whitley and finished after the death of his own brother. * * Johnny Cash Inside Fame “I saw the light” * One of the most chilling and revealing interviews from Johnny Cash as he recounts, on CMT Inside Fame, his near-death experience. * * Waylon walks off Tom Snyder show * Waylon Jennings illustrates why he’s called country’s original outlaw when he angrily walks off the Late, Late Show, leaving Tom Snyder with 15 minutes of airtime to fill. After being promised a 45-minute slot on the show, the first guest ran long, cutting Jennings’ slot to less than 20 minutes. After warning he would leave, Jennings walks off the set. * * Roy Rogers and Dale Evans “Happy Trails” * One of the most recognizable songs ever, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans would end each of their TV shows with the familiar strains of “Happy Trails.” * * June Carter Cash accepting award for Johnny Cash * A touching moment when June Carter Cash accepts a special award on behalf of Johnny Cash at the CMT Flameworthy 2003 Video Music Awards. * * Loretta performs for Doo * During a TNN TV taping, Loretta Lynn performs a touching song for her ailing husband, Doo, while he cries. * * Farm Aid first televised * The 1985 debut of the legendary concert/fundraiser was a miracle. In only six weeks, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp pulled together a concert with over 80,000 attendees in Champaign, Ill., that raised $7 million for America’s farmers. * * Natalie Maines F.U.T.K T-shirt * At the 2003 Academy of Country Music Awards in May, Natalie Maines appeared via satellite from a concert in Austin, Texas, wearing a shirt reading “F.U.T.K.” The shirt was worn in response to Toby Keith, whose “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” offended Maines and caused her to speak out against Keith. * * Billy Ray Cyrus’ national TV debut * On April 3, 1992, the pride of Flatwoods, Ky., Billy Ray Cyrus, launched his career when he performed on Nashville Now. Was it the hip shaking or music making that sold records or a little of both?
This Category is Ranked. Sort by Ranking Based on Votes by clicking on Vote Ranking. Sort by the Collection's Ranking by clicking on List Ranking.
Vote
Ranking
List
Ranking
  
10
0
TV Network
69.47% (66 of 95 votes)
6
1
Vocalist
90.48% (19 of 21 votes)
22
2
Vocalist
50.0% (3 of 6 votes)
39
4
Vocalist
33.33% (1 of 3 votes)
31
5
Vocalist
42.05% (222 of 528 votes)
51
5
Vocalist
0% (0 of 1 votes)
4
6
Actress
100% (2 of 2 votes)
15
6
Actor
60.0% (3 of 5 votes)
33
7
Vocalist
33.33% (3 of 9 votes)
28
8
Vocalist
42.05% (222 of 528 votes)
19
9
Vocalist
57.14% (4 of 7 votes)
25
10
Vocalist
48.70% (56 of 115 votes)
26
10
TV Series
46.97% (31 of 66 votes)
54
11
Vocalist
0% (0 of 1 votes)
24
12
Songwriter
50.0% (1 of 2 votes)
2
13
TV Series
100% (1 of 1 votes)
47
13
Vocalist
11.11% (1 of 9 votes)
5
14
Vocalist
100% (1 of 1 votes)
27
15
Vocalist
42.86% (3 of 7 votes)
50
16
Vocalist
6.25% (1 of 16 votes)
48
17
Vocalist
6.67% (1 of 15 votes)
9
18
Vocalists
69.68% (154 of 221 votes)
17
18
Commentator
58.96% (204 of 346 votes)
46
19
TV Series
12.50% (1 of 8 votes)
40
20
Vocalist
33.33% (1 of 3 votes)
7
21
TV Series
85.71% (6 of 7 votes)
32
21
Vocalist
33.33% (3 of 9 votes)
42
22
Vocalist
30.0% (3 of 10 votes)
12
23
Musician
66.67% (2 of 3 votes)
16
23
U.S. President
59.97% (412 of 687 votes)
3
24
TV Series
100% (1 of 1 votes)
43
24
Vocalist
30.0% (3 of 10 votes)
30
25
Vocalist
42.05% (222 of 528 votes)
35
26
Vocalist
33.33% (1 of 3 votes)
1
27
TV Series
100% (1 of 1 votes)
23
27
Vocalist
50.0% (2 of 4 votes)
38
28
Vocalist
33.33% (1 of 3 votes)
45
29
Vocalist
15.79% (3 of 19 votes)
37
30
Vocalist
33.33% (1 of 3 votes)
52
30
Musicians
0% (0 of 2 votes)
13
31
Vocalist
62.50% (5 of 8 votes)
18
31
TV Series
57.14% (48 of 84 votes)
44
32
Vocalist
22.22% (2 of 9 votes)
29
33
Vocalist
42.05% (222 of 528 votes)
49
34
Vocalist
6.25% (1 of 16 votes)
53
35
Vocalist
0% (0 of 1 votes)
21
36
Vocalist
57.14% (4 of 7 votes)
36
36
Vocalist
33.33% (1 of 3 votes)
14
37
Vocalist
62.50% (5 of 8 votes)
34
38
TV Series
33.33% (3 of 9 votes)
41
38
Vocalist
33.33% (1 of 3 votes)
8
39
Vocalist
75.00% (3 of 4 votes)
11
40
Vocalist
66.67% (2 of 3 votes)
20
41
Vocalist
57.14% (4 of 7 votes)
 
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