> Album: Always on My Mind
> Artist: Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson’s monster album sold over 4 million copies and occupied the top of the country charts for 22 weeks and produced a platinum single for the title track. It won the CMA Album of the Year over albums from Merle Haggard, Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, and George Jones. Besides the title track, the songs included “Let It Be Me” and Nelson’s covers of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The album was one of 17 No. 1 albums for Nelson.
> Album: The Closer You Get
> Artist: Alabama
Alabama’s slickly produced fourth album — which includes the super-hit “Dixieland Delight” — won in 1983 over records by Ricky Skaggs, Janie Fricke, John Anderson, and Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, who had collaborated on their now classic “Pancho and Lefty.” The band also took home the awards for Group of the Year and Entertainer of the Year.
> Album: A Little Good News
> Artist: Anne Murray
Canadian singer Anne Murray had much success in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her CMA Album of the Year topped Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Alabama, and Merle Haggard. “A Little Good News” produced No. 1 country hits such as the title track and “Just Another Woman In Love” — two of Murray’s 10 country chart-toppers.
> Album: Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
> Artist: George Strait
Country superstar George Strait won his first Album of the Year award for his fourth studio album, “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.” The country music traditionalist won out over Alabama, Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs, and The Judds. Strait would win the award another four times.
> Album: Lost in the Fifties Tonight
> Artist: Ronnie Milsap
Ronnie Milsap was honored by the CMA again in 1986 for his album “Lost in the Fifties Tonight,” topping George Strait, The Judds, Randy Travis, and Reba McIntire. The album was one of four No. 1 albums for Milsap. Milsap’s 17th studio album produced four of his 35 country No. 1 hits: “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby,” “In Love,” “How Do I Turn You On,” and the title song.