In 1975, the ‘Silver Fox’ had actually an epos meltdown at the country Music Awards—it to be something we’d never ever see in tonight’s sterile bro-country showcase.
You are watching: Charlie rich lights award on fire
When Charlie well-off walked ~ above stage throughout the last minutes the the 1975 country Music Awards, the was plainly drunk.
The legendary crooner, who had actually won finest Entertainer in 1974, was up over there to announce the winner of the year’s large prize. Yet when he arrived at the podium, he take it a pause, muttered come himself, and also looked lovingly in ~ the trophy in his hand.
“This is the most beautiful point in the civilization right here,” the slurred. “Most beautiful thing. Say thanks to you really much.” The audience was silent.
“I understand the human being who are up because that
“The nominees for the nation music entertainment artist of the Year are John Denver, Waylon Jennings,” he cut himself off and went top top a tangent: “The factor I’m talking so exactly is ’cause I simply got earlier from London. I’d fairly be in Nashville.”
Continuing: “Loretta Lynn. Loretta, would you choose to go the end tonight?” worried laughter. “Ronnie Milsap. An initial time I experienced Ronnie, our bandstand broke. 18-foot bandstand. Bam.” The camera reduced to the last nominee and also his wife, who shook she head in embarrassment. “And my girlfriend from Arkansas, Mississippi, wherever he wanna be: Mr. Conway Twitty.”
And climate after ripping the winner’s on slide from its envelope and fumbling v the paper, Rich gradually pulled out a lighter. “The winner is,” that said, bright the corner of the page, briefly admiring the flame, “my friend, Mr. Man Denver.”
Rich was banned indigenous future CMA events. And his career was never ever the same.
Some to speak the occurrence was his interlocutor protest versus the infiltration of nation music by pop acts choose Denver, except there are a few problems through that: Charlie affluent himself was the embodiment of the genre’s expanding boundaries; and also other evidence argues he was simply a drunk exhibiting negative judgment.
Rich had won finest Entertainer the year prior because that his blockbuster record, Behind closeup of the door Doors, which shook the foundations of country music due to the fact that of that heavily-orchestrated production, schmaltzy songwriting, and also Top 40 appeal. If firmly country in his aesthetics, Rich broke from the outlaws and also the hillbillies by combine jazz, pop, and also rock ’n’ roll elements.
Not specifically the element candidate because that a reactionary revolt against John Denver.
Furthermore, Rich’s very own son described that the singer was on one ill-advised combination of ache medication because that a foot injury and one too plenty of gin and tonics backstage the evening.
“I understand the last thing my dad would have actually wanted to perform was set himself up together judge of one more musician,” Charlie well-off Jr., composed of his elder, who passed in 1995. “He felt badly that human being thought it was a statement against John Denver.”
That being said, as a moment on the own, Charlie Rich’s on-stage meltdown serves as a last was standing for standard country—before high-gloss crossover artist sterilized the genre; before the “boot in yer ass” jingoists stripped that is patriotism of nuance; and also before bro-country action turned that dark, soulful sense of longing right into a 24/7 Axe human body spray commercial.
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After all, tonight’s performers in ~ the 49th yearly Country Music Awards include oily bro duo Florida Georgia Line, beer-and-trucks-obsessed Jason Aldean, and… fall Out Boy(?!?!). Yes, Rich’s drunken minute was disastrous on a an individual level, yet we would just be so happy to view something as unpredictable and also haunting in tonight’s show.