November 8, 2004
BMI Celebrates Country Music at 2004 Awards
SHANIA TWAIN, TOBY KEITH & CASEY BEATHARD LEAD WINNERS;
LORETTA LYNN HONORED AS BMI ICON
NASHVILLE, November 8, 2004 – Performing rights organization BMI saluted the premier country music songwriters, artists and publishers at its 2004 BMI Country Awards, staged tonight at the BMI offices on Music Row.
Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always” was proclaimed Country Song of the Year. Casey Beathard earned the title of Country Songwriter of the Year, with superstar Toby Keith collecting Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year honors. Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville was named Country Publisher of the Year. A highlight of the gala was a tribute to Loretta Lynn, who was named a BMI ICON for “her enduring influence on generations of music makers.”
The black-tie ceremony was hosted by Del Bryant, BMI President and CEO. Frances W. Preston, President Emeritus, and Paul Corbin, Vice President of Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville, assisted with the presentations to the BMI-affiliated writers and publishers of the 50 most performed songs in the country music format.
“Forever and For Always,” written and recorded by Shania Twain, won the 36th Robert J. Burton Award as Most Performed Country Song of the Year for tallying the most US broadcast performances during the eligibility period. Included on Twain’s 10-times platinum Mercury Nashville album, UP!, “Forever and For Always” was published by her company Loon Echo, Inc., and by Universal-Songs of PolyGram International, Inc., and was co-written with her husband, Robert John “Mutt” Lange (share not licensed through BMI).
“Forever and For Always” is Twain’s fourth BMI Song of the Year win. It was named Song of the Year at the 2004 BMI London Awards, and her smash “You’re Still the One” received the honor at both the 1999 BMI Pop and Country Awards. She was also named BMI Songwriter of the Year at both the 1999 and 2000 Pop and Country Awards and now owns a total of 28 BMI Awards.
The BMI Country Songwriter of the Year trophy went to Casey Beathard, who placed five titles on the most performed list: “Drinkin’ Bone” (recorded by Tracy Byrd), “Hot Mama” (Trace Adkins), “The Love Song” (Jeff Bates), “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” (Kenny Chesney) and “Walk a Little Straighter” (Billy Currington).
Toby Keith was crowned BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year on the strength of his #1 hits “American Soldier,” “Beer For My Horses” and “I Love This Bar.” Keith, who now has 15 BMI Awards, was also named Songwriter/Artist of the Year in 2001.
Eight songwriters were double winners, contributing two songs each to the most-performed list: Bob DiPiero, Scotty Emerick, Tony Martin, Wendell Mobley, Tim Nichols, Tom Shapiro, Jeffrey Steele, and Twain.
Other writer/artists earning awards were Keith Urban, Sara Evans, Lonestar’s Richie McDonald, Clint Black, Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn, Buddy Jewell, Craig Morgan, Pat Green, Jeff Bates, and Sherrié Austin.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville was named BMI Country Publisher of the Year by accumulating the highest percentage of copyright ownership in award songs. Donna Hilley, President & CEO, accepted on behalf of the publisher, which boasted 18 songs on the most-performed list (through its companies Sony/ATV Acuff Rose and Sony/ATV Tree).
Other publishers with multiple award-winning songs included Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (8); Universal-Songs of PolyGram International, Inc. (6); EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc. (4); Careers-BMG Music Publishing, Inc./Zomba Songs Inc., and Tokeco Tunes (3 each).
President Emeritus Frances Preston was recognized with the President’s Award; BMI’s Del Bryant led the tribute, joined by Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill and Alabama’s Randy Owen. Preston, who joined BMI in 1958 and created the Country Awards in 1959, served as President & CEO from 1986 until August of this year. The award, given to those in the entertainment industry deserving of special recognition, has previously been bestowed on the group Alabama, Merv Griffin, Earle Hagen, Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Billy Sherrill, Pete Townshend and Brian Wilson.
The evening culminated in the ICON tribute to Loretta Lynn, which included an introduction by Preston, remarks from Kitty Wells, and performances by Crystal Gayle, Lynn’s sister (singing Coal Miner’s Daughter”) and Martina McBride (“You Ain’t Woman Enough”). A BMI affiliate for 43 years, the Kentucky-born Lynn launched her career in 1960 with her self-composed “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” Soon she was topping the charts with the feisty female classics she wrote, including “You Ain’t Woman Enough” (1966), “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’” (1966), “What Kind of Girl (Do You Think I Am)” (1967), “Fist City” (1968), “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970), “You’re Lookin’ at Country” (1971), “Rated X” (1972) and “The Pill” (1975). The first woman ever to become the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, she released her 71st album, the acclaimed Van Lear Rose, earlier this year.
Lynn joins a distinguished list of BMI ICONs, including country songwriter/artists Bill Anderson and Dolly Parton; pop songwriting master Brian Wilson; R&B legends Chuck Berry, James Brown, Bo Diddley, Al Green, Isaac Hayes and Little Richard; Motown songwriting trio Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland; and blues/rock/soul artist Van Morrison.
Founded in 1939, BMI is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music. Through its music performance licenses and reciprocal agreements, it grants businesses access to its repertoire of approximately 4.5 million musical works from around the world. BMI annually honors the songwriters and music publishers of the most performed songs on American radio and television in the urban, pop, country, Latin and Christian genres.
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Loretta Lynn and Shania Twain
Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, and Crystal Gayle
Joe Don Rooney, Keith Urban, Jay DeMarcus, and Gary LeVox
Brad Arnold, Ira Dean, Keith Burns, Jeffery Steele, Heidi Newfield, and Chris Henderson
Trick Pony: Ira Dean, Heidi Newfield, and Keith Burns
Jeffery Steele, Pat Green, Brad Arnold, and Chris Henderson
Gilles Godard, Casey and Susan Beathard
Shania Twain, Pat Higdon, and BMI's Del Bryant
Vince Gill, Randy Owen, BMI's President Emeritus Frances Preston, BMI's President and CEO Del Bryant, and Kris Kristofferson
Sonny Tillis, Mel Tillis, Scotty Emerick, Toby Keith
BMI's Frances Preston and Emmylou Harris
Pictured (l-r) onstage at BMI Nashville are Crystal Gayle; BMI President & CEO Del Bryant; Shania Twain; Kitty Wells, Casey Beathard; Toby Keith, Loretta Lynn; Universal Music Senior VP/GM Pat Higdon; BMI President Emeritus Frances Preston; and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville President & CEO Donna Hilley.