Academy of Country Music Announces Award in Honor of Merle Haggard

Photo by Travis Huggett


 LAUREN LAFFER • AUGUST 23, 2016 - 5:06 AM


The Academy of Country Music (ACM) will honor the late Merle Haggard in a big way.

Approved by the ACM Special Awards Panel and voted on by the ACM Board, the inaugural ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award will honor uncompromising artists in the spirit of the late singer, while paying homage to a prominent figure in ACM history.

The award will be handed out for the first time ever at the upcoming 10th Annual ACM Honors to a recipient that has yet to be revealed.

“Merle passed shortly after our 2016 awards show and after this year’s Special Awards were announced,” says ACM Board President Ken Tucker. “That said, there was simply no way the Academy could hold what may be its most heartfelt event – ACM Honors – without creating a lasting way to acknowledge his legacy. Celebrating and encouraging artists whose work echoes Merle Haggard’s indomitable spirit is beyond fitting. On behalf of the board, and with the blessing of his family, we are thrilled to create this important honor.”

Haggard was the first-ever ACM Entertainer of the Year, back in 1970. The honor also made him the first Triple Crown recipient, having won Male Vocalist of the Year in 1966 and Most Promising Male Vocalist in 1965.

The 10th Annual ACM Honors, hosted by Lady Antebellum, will be held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Tuesday, Aug. 30 and will broadcast for the first time on television at a later date on CBS. It will be produced for television by dick clark productions.