Loretta Lynn broke one of country music's highest glass ceilings on Oct. 16, 1972, when she became the first female artist to win Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards.

The country icon was up against Merle Haggard, Freddie Hart, Charley Pride and Jerry Reed in the EOTY category, and she gave a brief acceptance speech acknowledging the importance of her win.

"I'd like to say that I've won a lot of awards, and this is one that I have been nominated for, but I never did get. And this, I think, is the only one that I haven't gotten," Lynn said from the stage. "I'm real happy, but the only thing that I'm kind of sad about is my husband going hunting. He couldn't make it back in to share my happiness with me. Thank you."

Lynn's win came after a year that included the release of her 21st solo album, Here I Am Again. She had already scored a long string of hit singles that included the No. 1 hits "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Don't Come Home a'Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," and she titled her next album in 1973 Entertainer of the Year in honor of her win.

Lynn had previously won Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMA Awards in 1967, and she also took home that award in 1972. She was nominated for Entertainer of the Year every year from 1971 to 1975, but 1972 remains her sole win in the category. She would remain the only female ever to win in the category until 1978, when Dolly Parton took home the CMA's top honors.

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