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Top BMI Writers, Publishers Honored at 54th Annual Country Awards; Merle Haggard Saluted as BMI Icon

Posted in News on November 3, 2006
BMI, the first home for country music, was also the first to honor the genre's songwriters and publishers with its own awards show in 1953. The tradition turned a healthy 54 years old this year as the BMI Country Awards were held Saturday, Nov. 4 at the performing right organization's Music Row offices. BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and Jody Williams, Vice President of Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville, hosted the black-tie ceremony and presented Certificates of Achievement to the writers and publishers of the past year's 50 most-performed country songs in the BMI repertoire.

Country Awards Event Photos
Merle Haggard Icon Feature
BMI and Country Music

Toby Keith's hit "As Good As I Once Was," co-written by Keith and Scotty Emerick, was named Song of the Year. Previously named Songwriter of the Year in 2001 and 2004, Keith also shared his third Songwriter of the Year crown with Ed Hill and Vicky McGehee, while Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville snagged Publisher of the Year honors for the fifth consecutive year. A stirring tribute to American legend Merle Haggard honored the newest BMI Icon, celebrating Haggard's open-ended relevancy and influence that span genres and generations.

Merle Haggard Toby Keith

"As Good As I Once Was" landed the 38th Robert J. Burton Award for Most Performed Country Song of the Year for co-writers Toby Keith and Scotty Emerick, along with publishers Big Yellow Dog Music, Florida Cracker Music, Sony/ATV Tree and Tokeco Tunes. With tongue firmly in cheek, Keith's wry delivery sent the tune racing up the Billboard charts, where it resided for six weeks.

Vicky McGehee Ed Hill

Vicky McGehee, Ed Hill and Toby Keith formed the three-way tie for Country Songwriter of the Year, as each laid claim to three of the top 50 award-winning songs. In the past year, McGehee's hits "All Jacked Up," "Hicktown" and "Like We Never Loved At All" helped cement her status as one of Music City's "go-to" hit songwriters. Songwriting veteran Ed Hill's track record is liberally scattered with hits; this year, Hill's "Georgia Rain," "Somebody's Hero" and "Songs About Me" earned him his first BMI Songwriter of the Year title. Country superstar and two-time NSAI Songwriter of the Year Toby Keith added a third BMI Songwriter of the Year trophy to his growing collection with the hits "Big Blue Note," "HonkyTonk U" and "As Good As I Once Was."

With 17 songs among this year's top 50, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville (through its companies Sony/ATV Acuff Rose, Sony/ATV Songs LLC and Sony/ATV Tree) picked up its fifth consecutive Publisher of the Year win. The publishing powerhouse accumulated the highest percentage of copyright ownership thanks to award songs like "Believe," "Class Reunion (That Used To Be Us)," "Do You Want Fries With That," "God's Will," "Lot of Leavin' Left To Do," "Me and Charlie Talking," "My Give A Damn's Busted," "Nobody But Me," "Play Something Country," "She Don't Tell Me To" and "She Let Herself Go."

The capstone of the evening took the form of the Icon tribute to Merle Haggard, featuring performances by Martina McBride, John Anderson and Hank Williams Jr. By any conventional measure -- radio hits, albums and concert tickets sold, songs recorded by other artists, and awards and honors received over a career that's now in its fifth decade -- Merle Haggard qualifies as a giant of country music.

Haggard's numbers are staggering: 48 BMI Country Awards, nine BMI Pop Awards, a BMI R&B Award, and 16 BMI "Million-Air" awards for hits like "Big City," "The Fightin' Side of Me," "I Had A Beautiful Time," "Mama Tried," "Okie From Muskogee," "Today I Started Loving You Again" and "Workin' Man Blues," all from a catalog of songs that adds up to over 25 million performances and illustrates the legend's genre-bending mastery. A total of six CMA awards, 17 ACM awards, two Grammys and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award conspicuously dot Haggard's resume, but as valuable as such measures are, they don't begin to define the accomplishments that have earned the "Poet of the Common Man" his latest accolade.

As a songwriter, he boldly explored not just the most popular themes of love and heartbreak, but the changing economic and social landscape, American history and politics, patriotism, war, and his own experiences as a convict, a husband, a father and a musician. Using the often uncomplicated yet elegant forms handed down by his predecessors, he created -- and continues to add to -- an enduring body of work that resonates far beyond the world of country music while remaining firmly rooted within it. In recognition of his enduring commitment to tradition, consistent creativity and unshakable artistic integrity, BMI is proud to present Merle Haggard with its Icon Award.

The 2006 BMI Country Awards also honored songwriters Brett Beavers, Ronnie Dunn, Scotty Emerick, Aimee Mayo, Terry McBride, Tom Shapiro, Shaye Smith, Jeffrey Steele, George Teren, Keith Urban and Phillip White, who each supplied two songs to the top 50 list.

"Goodbye Time," co-written by Roger Murrah and James Dean Hicks, earned its second BMI Country Award this year; Conway Twitty's 1989 version won the first time around and Blake Shelton's remake garnered this year's recognition. Joe South's "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden," 1971's Country Song of the Year, won its seventh award this year thanks to Martina McBride's recent version. Lynn Anderson's 1970 version collected the song's first six awards.

Publishers winning three or more awards were Big Yellow Dog, Careers-BMG Music Publishing, EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., Music of Stage Three, Sagrabeaux Songs, Songs of Windswept Pacific, Tokeco Tunes and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.


Below is the complete list of 2006 BMI Country Music Award winners:

ALL JACKED UP
Vicky McGehee
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Oklahoma Girl Music
Gretchen Wilson
Epic Records

AS GOOD AS I ONCE WAS
Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith
Big Yellow Dog Music
Florida Cracker Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Tokeco Tunes
Toby Keith
DreamWorks

BELIEVE
Ronnie Dunn
Showbilly Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Brooks & Dunn
Arista Nashville

BETTER LIFE
Keith Urban
Guitar Monkey Music
Keith Urban
Capitol Records

BIG BLUE NOTE
Scotty Emerick
Toby Keith
Big Yellow Dog Music
Florida Cracker Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Tokeco Tunes
Toby Keith
DreamWorks/Show Dog Records

BILLY'S GOT HIS BEER GOGGLES ON
Phillip White
Katank Music
Murrah Music Corporation
Texabama Music
Neal McCoy
903 Music

BOONDOCKS
Karen Fairchild
Wayne Kirkpatrick
Kimberly Roads
Phillip Sweet
Jimi Westbrook
Sell The Cow Music
Tower One Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Little Big Town
Equity Music Group

CLASS REUNION (THAT USED TO BE US)
Richie McDonald
Frank Myers
Frank Myers Music
Sixteen Stars Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Lonestar
BNA

COME A LITTLE CLOSER
Brett Beavers
Run The Trotline Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Dierks Bentley
Capitol Records

DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT
Casey Beathard
Lavender Zoo Music
Sony/ATV Acuff Rose
Tim McGraw
Curb Records

DON'T ASK ME HOW I KNOW
Bart Butler
Bobby Pinson
Bill Butler Music
Bobby's Song and Salvage
Music of Stage Three
Bobby Pinson
RCA

DRUGS OR JESUS
Aimee Mayo
Troy Verges
Careers-BMG Music Publishing
Silverkiss Music
Songs from the Engine Room
Songs of Universal, Inc.
Tim McGraw
Curb Records

FAST CARS AND FREEDOM
Wendell Mobley
Lexi's Palm Tree Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Rascal Flatts
Lyric Street

GEORGIA RAIN
Ed Hill
Karyn Rochelle
Big Yellow Dog Music
Careers-BMG Music Publishing
Sagrabeaux Songs
Sony/ATV Tree
Trisha Yearwood
MCA Nashville

GOD'S WILL
Tom Douglas
Sony/ATV Tree
Tomdouglasmusic
Martina McBride
RCA

GOOD RIDE COWBOY
Richie Brown
Jerrod Niemann
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
First Wind Music
New Songs of Sea Gayle
Garth Brooks
Pearl/Lyric Street

GOODBYE TIME (2nd Award)
James Dean Hicks
Roger Murrah
Sony/ATV Acuff Rose
Blake Shelton
Warner Bros.

HELP SOMEBODY
Kip Raines
Jeffrey Steele
3 Ring Circus Music
Jeffrey Steele Music
Songs of Windswept Pacific
Van Zant
Columbia Records

HICKTOWN
Big Kenny
Vicky McGehee
Big Love Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Jason Aldean
Broken Bow

HOMEWRECKER
George Teren
House of Full Circle Music
Gretchen Wilson
Epic Records

HONKY TONK BADONKADONK
Dallas Davidson
Randy Houser
Jamey Johnson
Big Borassa Music LLC
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Songs of Windswept Pacific
Trace Adkins
Capitol Records

HONKYTONK U
Toby Keith
Tokeco Tunes
Toby Keith
DreamWorks

(I NEVER PROMISED YOU A) ROSE GARDEN (7th Award)
Joe South
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Martina McBride
RCA

IF SOMETHING SHOULD HAPPEN
Dan DeMay
Atlantic Bridge Music
Music of Stage Three
Darryl Worley
DreamWorks

I'LL TAKE THAT AS A YES (THE HOT TUB SONG)
Jon McElroy
Vince Melamed
Senor Vicente Music
Songs of Mighty Isis
Vista Larga Music
Phil Vassar
Arista Nashville

LIKE WE NEVER LOVED AT ALL
Vicky McGehee
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Faith Hill
Warner Bros.

LONG, SLOW KISSES
Jeff Bates
Gordon Bradberry
New Works Music Co.
Smith Haven Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Jeff Bates
RCA

LOT OF LEAVIN' LEFT TO DO
Brett Beavers
Run The Trotline Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Dierks Bentley
Capitol Records

ME AND CHARLIE TALKING
Miranda Lambert
Heather Little
Nashville Star Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Tiltawhirl Music
Miranda Lambert
Epic Records

MY GIVE A DAMN'S BUSTED
Joe Diffie
Tony Martin
Tom Shapiro
Difftunes
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Mike Curb Music
Music of Stage Three
Sony/ATV Tree
Jo Dee Messina
Curb Records
MY OLD FRIEND
Steve McEwan (PRS)
Careers-BMG Music Publishing
Tim McGraw
Curb Records

MY SISTER
Amy Dalley
Music of Stage Three
Reba McEntire
MCA Nashville

NOBODY BUT ME
Shawn Camp
Phillip White
Big Yellow Dog Music
Murrah Music Corporation
Sony/ATV Tree
Travelin' Arkansawyer Music
Blake Shelton
Warner Bros.

PLAY SOMETHING COUNTRY
Ronnie Dunn
Terry McBride
Showbilly Music
Sony/ATV Tree
Still Working For The Man Music, Inc.
Turn Me On Music
Brooks & Dunn
Arista Nashville

PROBABLY WOULDN'T BE THIS WAY
Tammi Kidd
Irving Music
LeAnn Rimes
Asylum-Curb

SHE DON'T TELL ME TO
Bob DiPiero
Tom Shapiro
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Love Monkey Music
Piano Wire Music LLC
Sony/ATV Tree
Montgomery Gentry
Columbia Records

SHE LET HERSELF GO
Dean Dillon
Sony/ATV Acuff Rose
Unwound Music
George Strait
MCA Nashville

SKIN (SARABETH)
Doug Johnson
Mike Curb Music
Sweet Radical Music
Rascal Flatts
Lyric Street

SOMEBODY'S HERO
Ed Hill
Shaye Smith
Careers-BMG Music Publishing
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Sagrabeaux Songs
Shaye Smith Music
Jamie O'Neal
Capitol Records

SOMETHING MORE
Kristian Bush
Dirkpit Music
Sugarland
Mercury Nashville

SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF
Jeffrey Steele
Gottahaveable Music
Songs of Windswept Pacific
Montgomery Gentry
Columbia Records

SONGS ABOUT ME
Ed Hill
Shaye Smith
Careers-BMG Music Publishing
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Sagrabeaux Songs
Shaye Smith Music
Trace Adkins
Capitol Records

STAY WITH ME (BRASS BED)
Jedd Hughes
Terry McBride
Still Working For The Man Music, Inc.
Terry McBride Music
Wilmington Road Publishing
Josh Gracin
Lyric Street

THE TALKIN' SONG REPAIR BLUES
Dennis Linde
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Rising Gorge Music
Alan Jackson
Arista Nashville

TEQUILA MAKES HER CLOTHES FALL OFF
Gary Hannan
John Wiggins
Chobe Music
Fiddle Stock Music
Heavy Leather Music, Inc.
Notewrite Music
Joe Nichols
Universal South

TONIGHT I WANNA CRY
Keith Urban
Coburn Music, Inc.
Guitar Monkey Music
Keith Urban
Capitol Records

WHEN I GET WHERE I'M GOING
George Teren
House of Full Circle Music
Brad Paisley featuring Dolly Parton
Arista Nashville

WHO YOU'D BE TODAY
Bill Luther
Aimee Mayo
Careers-BMG Music Publishing
Evansville Music
Little Blue Typewriter Music
Kenny Chesney
BNA

YOU'LL BE THERE
Cory Mayo
Coburn Music, Inc.
George Strait
MCA Nashville
YOUR MAN
Jace Everett
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Josh Turner
MCA Nashville

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