Harlan Howard Birthday Bash Returns To Music Row

Posted in News on September 14, 2003
The Harlan Howard Birthday Bash, named for the late BMI legend who was known as the "Dean of Nashville Songwriters," is returning after a six-year absence. The concert, a fundraiser for the Nashville Songwriters Foundation, is set for Tuesday, September 16th in the parking lot of Off Broadway Shoes at 16th Avenue South and McGavock Street. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the show begins at 6:30 p.m.  

Among those in the lineup are BMI talents Jeffrey Steele, Harley Allen, Stephony Smith, D. Vincent Williams, Sara Evans, Jeff Bates, Lee Thomas Miller, Richie McDonald of Lonestar, Merle Kilgore, Brenda Lee and Delbert McClinton.

In a career that spanned six decades, Howard penned more than 100 Top 10 hits, including such classics as "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down," "I Fall To Pieces," "Heartaches By The Number," "Tiger By The Tail," "Busted," "Why Not Me," "Above And Beyond," "Somebody Should Leave" and "Blame It On Your Heart." A BMI writer for over 45 years, Harlan Howard provided hit songs to several generations of stars, from Kitty Wells to Patty Loveless, from Patsy Cline to Reba McEntire, from Mel Tillis to Pam Tillis. A who's-who of the country music world has sung his compositions: George Jones, Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, the Judds, Jimmy Dickens, Ray Price and Conway Twitty, to name just a few. But his songs have also enjoyed R&B and pop interpretations by a variety of artists such as Ray Charles, Joe Simon, Shirley Caesar, Brenda Lee, The Kingston Trio, Kay Starr and Burl Ives.

Howard was inducted to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and, in 1997, to both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Among his numerous accolades were 45 BMI Country Awards, four BMI Pop Awards and two BMI R&B Awards. His presence on Music Row was such that that for a dozen years (1983-95) the community celebrated the "Harlan Howard Birthday Bash," an all-star concert staged in the BMI Nashville parking lot as a benefit for songwriter organizations. Declining health forced him to discontinue these events after 1995, but, with his wife Melanie, he continued to run his song publishing business. Howard died in 2002.

Tickets for the 2003 Harlan Howard Birthday Bash are on sale now at all Ticketmaster at 615/255-9600 or online at General Admission tickets are $25. In addition, premium tables for $1,000 can be purchased through Harlan Howard Songs at 615/321-9098. The table for 10 includes a stainless steel flask etched with Harlan Howard's familiar face, Birthday Bash memorabilia journals, table service and commemorative poster signed by the performers. For more information, please visit


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