Grammys flashback: The Chicks were ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ with right-wing country crowd, but won Song of the Year

“Thank you Martie and Emily for sticking by me. I told you I’d take you to the Grammys!” said The Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines to her bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison upon accepting Song of the Year for “Not Ready to Make Nice” at the Grammys in 2007. Watch them accept the prize above.

Maines, Maguire, Robison, and their writing partner Dan Wilson claimed the Grammys’ top songwriting award after a long, tumultuous road for The Chicks. At the Shepherd’s Bush Empire theater in London, England, in 2003, Maines said on stage that she was ashamed then-President George W. Bush was from Texas. This led to a swift backlash from country music fans and radio stations, with the band also receiving death threats.

But the Grammys tend to be more progressive than the country industry and listenership at large so when The Chicks clapped back at their detractors with “Not Ready to Make Nice” and its parent album “Taking the Long Way,” the recording academy welcomed the group back with open arms. Already Grammy favorites with past Album of the Year nominations for their albums “Fly” and “Home,” they had their best night ever in 2007. Not only did they claim Song of the Year, they also won Record of the Year and Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Not Ready to Make Nice,” as well as Album of the Year and Best Country Album for “Taking the Long Way.”

But a political divide in country music remains. In 2022, for instance, Maren Morris came under fire for supporting transgender rights against Brittany Aldean, the wife of country singer Jason Aldean. And Morgan Wallen enjoyed unprecedented success despite controversy over his use of a racial slur, even though he was temporarily dropped by radio stations and awards organizations. Where country music stands in the country’s politics is still unsettled.

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