Rock and roll pioneers Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard were honored with inaugural BMI ICON Awards when the performing rights organization staged its 50th Annual Pop Awards May 14 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. BMI President & CEO Frances W. Preston led the tribute to these musical founding fathers, and presented silver bowls inscribed: "In recognition of your unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers."
The special salute "to the men who put the soul in rock and roll" featured performances by Jonny Lang, Ivan Neville, Mavis Staples and George Thorogood. The band, led by musical director Steve Jordan, included Al Blake, Pete Christlieb, Jim Horn, Ivan Neville, Larry Taylor and Waddy Wachtel. Among those in attendance at the awards ceremony were ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Fuel, Eve 6, Evan & Jaron, Lee Ann Womack, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Tantric and Blu Cantrell.
Berry and Diddley have been affiliated with BMI since 1955; Little Richard, since 1956. Berry and Little Richard were inducted with the first class to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986; Diddley followed in 1987. A partial list of their classics follows (with notations of BMI Pop Awards, BMI Rhythm & Blues Awards, BMI Country Awards and Million-Air million-performance status).
"Back In The USA" - Pop
"Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" - R&B
"Johnny B. Goode" - R&B/Million-Air "Maybellene" - Pop/R&B/Country/Million-Air
"Memphis" - Pop/R&B/Country/Million-Air
"Nadine (Is It You)" - R&B
"No Particular Place To Go" - Pop/R&B/Million-Air "The Promised Land" - Pop/R&B/Country
"Rock and Roll Music" - Pop/Million-Air
"Roll Over Beethoven" - Million-Air
"School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell)" - Pop/R&B/Million-Air
"Sweet Little Sixteen" -Pop/R&B/Million-Air
"Before You Accuse Me"
"I'm A Man" - R&B
"Love Is Strange" - Pop/R&B/Million-Air
"Who Do You Love"
"You Don't Love Me"
"Jenny, Jenny" - R&B
"Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey"
"Keep A-Knockin'" - R&B
"Long Tall Sally" - Pop/R&B/Million-Air
"Lucille" - Pop/R&B/Country/Million-Air
"Ooh! My Soul"
"Slippin' and Slidin'" - Country
"Tutti-Frutti" - R&B
The annual BMI Pop Awards salute the writers and publishers of the past year's 50 most performed songs. Highest honors this year went to "If You're Gone," written by matchbox twenty's Rob Thomas, as Pop Song of the Year; to songwriter Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down as Pop Songwriter of the Year; and to Universal Music Publishing as Pop Publisher of the Year. Most Performed Song on College Radio kudos went to "Hanging By A Moment," written by Jason Wade of Lifehouse. President & CEO Preston and Barbara Cane, Vice President & General Manager, Writer/Publisher Relations, Los Angeles, handed out BMI Citations of Achievement to more than 150 writers and publishers during the black-tie dinner event.
High-resolution photos of the BMI ICON recipients and a complete list of winners of the 2002 BMI Pop Awards are available for downloading on the BMI Media Relations web site at press.bmi.com.