It was a gathering of the clan when second-generation BMI writer Sonny Tillis was feted for his first #1 song: the Jamie O'Neal single "When I Think About Angels." Sonny, who co-wrote the tune with Mercury artist O'Neal and Roxie Dean, shared his day with his family (save Pam, who was out of town), and led the birthday congratulations to his father, Mel. Also mentioned for their contributions to the #1 achievement were Mercury Nashville's Luke Lewis, producer Keith Stegall and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Grouped at BMI Nashville for an extended-Tillis family portrait are mom Doris, Sonny, sister Hannah, BMI's Harry Warner, dad Mel, wife Madelyn, sister Cindy, former brother-in-law Bob DiPiero, and sister Carrie.
Sonny Tillis grew up around hit songs as the son of the CMA Award-winning entertainer and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member, and eventually performed at the Mel Tillis Theater in Branson, earning honors for Songwriter and Opening Act of the Year in 1990. Since then, he has written songs for Pam Tillis, Reba McEntire, Gene Watson, Trace Adkins, Ty Herndon and Suzy Bogguss. "When I Think About Angels" is the second hit for the Dean/O'Neal/Tillis team, which also collaborated on the Tammy Cochran single "So What."
BMI's Perry Howard, Warner-Tamerlane's Tim Wipperman, Roxie Dean, Sonny Tillis, Mercury's Luke Lewis, BMI's Harry Warner and Paul Corbin.
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photos by Kay Williams