Eileen Finan
November 01, 2016 01:15 PM

If you love Dierks Bentley, you can thank (in part) Hank Williams Jr.’s song “Man to Man” for igniting his passion for the country genre. “Up to that point, I loved music — all kinds of music, he tells PEOPLE. “But it was that exact moment I knew I wanted to be a country singer.”

For Miranda Lambert, it was “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” by Guy Clark. “The first feeling you have, when you really feel something by hearing a song? It was that song,” she says.

• Who should win at #CMAawards50? Record a video with your vote atburst.com/CMA50Live to be featured on PEOPLE and EW’s red carpet LIVE show, airing Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 5:30 p.m. ETon our homepages or the newPeople/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.

People Special Edition 50 years of the CMA Awards - Cover
  • PEOPLE’s Special Edition 50 Years of the CMA Awards is on sale now online and on newsstands.

What songs were life-changing for Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, Reba McEntire, Brett Eldredge and a host of other country stars? Watch and find out!

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