Press release from ABC, Nov. 5, 2019:
The Country Music Association has revealed its 2019 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient – iconic country music star Kris Kristofferson.
A special tribute is planned during “The 53rd Annual CMA Awards,” featuring a not-to-be-missed performance of Kristofferson’s classic “Me & Bobby McGee” by Dierks Bentley with Sheryl Crow, Chris Janson and John Osborne. “The 53rd Annual CMA Awards” broadcasts live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, WEDNESDAY, NOV. 13 (8:00 – 11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.
“Kris is a living legend whose impact on our genre has been monumental,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer. “He is the definition of an icon and someone our community holds with such high regard. I’m thrilled our board selected Kris this year for one of CMA’s highest accolades. Though he won’t be joining us at the CMA Awards, I hope our tribute performance brings a big smile to his face.”
The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award is for an iconic artist who has attained the highest degree of recognition in country music. The Award was established to recognize an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence and stature through concert performances, humanitarian efforts, philanthropy, record sales and public representation at the highest level. The artist receiving this Award has positively impacted and contributed to the growth of the genre throughout a course of years that have proven to have an unprecedented historical impact on fans and industry alike.
Previous recipients of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award include Willie Nelson (2012), Kenny Rogers (2013), Johnny Cash (2015) and Dolly Parton (2016).
Kristofferson, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, is an eight-time CMA Awards nominee, receiving his most recent nod in 2012 for CMA Musical Event of the Year with “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” collaborating with Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Jamey Johnson. He won CMA Song of the Year in 1970 for the chart-topping “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” first recorded by Country Music Hall of Fame member Ray Stevens in 1969, then fellow Hall of Fame member Johnny Cash in 1970.
Although he struggled in Music City for several years, the Texas native achieved meteoric success as a songwriter starting in the 1970s. His songs, “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and “For the Good Times,” all chart-topping hits, helped redefine country music songwriting. By 1987, it was estimated that more than 450 artists had recorded his compositions.
His renown as a songwriter turned heads in Hollywood, leading to a flourishing career as a film actor. He won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in 1977 for his role in “A Star Is Born” and has landed spots in more than 70 films.
Kristofferson is a three-time GRAMMY winner with 30 recorded albums to his credit and three decades worth of international touring. He received country music’s highest honor in 2004 with induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Other accolades include the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter Hall of Fame, the American Veteran’s Association’s Veteran of the Year Award, CMT’s Johnny Cash Visionary Award, BMI’s Icon Award, the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Frances Preston Music Industry Award and the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, among others.
“The 53rd Annual CMA Awards” is a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton is the executive producer. Alex Rudzinski is the director, and David Wild is the head writer.