Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award

The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, instituted in 2012 during the 46th CMA Awards, is given by the Country Music Association. The presentation of the award is intended to "honor an iconic artist who has attained the highest degree of recognition in Country Music (that) achieved both national and international prominence and stature through concert performances, humanitarian efforts, philanthropy, record sales, and public representation at the highest level", with the condition that the recipient "must have positively impacted and contributed to the growth of the genre over time".[1]

The award, first presented to Willie Nelson, and named after him, was designed by Chicago manufacturer R.S. Owens & Company. The trophy was built resembling the "bullet shape" of a regular CMA award, formed by two aluminum struts that support a bronze medallion on top, with the entire structure attached to a walnut base.[2]


Year Recipient Achievements Tribute Performers
2012 Willie Nelson Ten-time CMA winner (including the 1979 Entertainer of the Year)
Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame
Sixty One studio albums
Thirty Three Number One singles
Twelve-time Grammy winner
1998 Kennedy Center Honors recipient
Lady Antebellum - Always on My Mind and Crazy
Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Mickey Raphael - Whiskey River
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill - Good Hearted Woman
Willie Nelson (with Shelton, Urban, Hill, McGraw and Lady Antebellum) - On the Road Again
2013 Kenny Rogers Five-time CMA Awards winner
Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame
Thirty Seven studio albums
Thirty Number One singles
Three-time Grammy winner
Jennifer Nettles - Sweet Music Man
Rascal Flatts - Just Dropped In
Darius Rucker - The Gambler
Kenny Rogers (with Nettles) - Islands in the Stream
2015 Johnny Cash[A] Nine-time CMA winner (including the 1969 Entertainer of the Year)
Member of the Country Music, Rock and Roll and Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry
Fifty Five studio albums
Thirteen Number One singles
Eighteen-time Grammy winner and 1996 Kennedy Center Honors recipient
Willie Nelson - I Walk the Line
Hank Williams Jr. - Ring of Fire
Travis Tritt and Sheryl Crow - Jackson
Kris Kristofferson - Folsom Prison Blues
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (with Nelson, Kristofferson, Williams Jr., Tritt and Crow ) - Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
2016 Dolly Parton Nine-time CMA winner (including the 1978 Entertainer of the Year)
Member of the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame
Forty-Three solo studio albums
Twenty Five Number One singles
Eight-time Grammy winner, two-time Oscar nominee and 2006 Kennedy Center Honors recipient
Jennifer Nettles (with Pentatonix) - Jolene
Reba McEntire - 9 to 5
Kacey Musgraves - Here You Come Again
Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride (with Nettles, Musgraves and McEntire) - I Will Always Love You

^ A. Cash's award was presented posthumously and therefore, a tribute was not given at the 2015 CMA Awards however, a tribute was performed at the 2003 ceremony


  1. ^ "Kenny Rogers Presented With the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award". CMA World. Country Music Association. November 8, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Green, Cassie (November 12, 2013). "R.S. Owens Completes Willie Nelson's CMA Lifetime Achievement Award". A&E magazine. NBM, Inc. Retrieved April 25, 2014.