October 22, 2001

Theodora Zavin Announces Retirement From BMI After 50 Years With The Company

Toby Keith, Marv Green and Aimee Mayo Hold Songwriter Title;
Warner-Tamerlane Wears Publishing Crown

Press Release

NASHVILLE, November 6, 2001 – Performing rights organization BMI staged the 49th edition of its Country Awards tonight, with ultimate honors saved for “I Hope You Dance,” songwriters Toby Keith, Marv Green and Aimee Mayo, and publishing titan Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.  BMI Citations of Achievement were presented by President & CEO Frances W. Preston and Vice President Paul Corbin to the songwriters and publishers of the past year’s 50 most performed songs during a black-tie gala at the company’s Music Row offices. This celebration—the oldest awards program saluting country music’s creators—culminated in the announcements of Country Song, Songwriter, and Publisher of the Year.
“I Hope You Dance” earned writer Tia Sillers the 33rd Robert J. Burton Award as Most Performed Country Song of the Year.  A multi-week, multi-format #1 smash for MCA recording artist Lee Ann Womack, “I Hope You Dance” is published by Choice Is Tragic Music (Sillers accepting) and Ensign Music Corporation (Chairman & CEO Irwin Z. Robinson and Vice President Pat Finch of parent The Famous Music Publishing Companies accepting). Sillers, who previously garnered BMI Country accolades for “There’s Your Trouble,” “Lipstick Promises” and “Land Of The Living,” wrote the song with Mark D. Sanders (share not licensed through BMI).
Toby Keith, Marv Green and Aimee Mayo each contributed three songs to the list of 50 to form a Country Songwriter of the Year triumvirate.  Keith was presented with a BMI Crystal inscribed “Songwriter/Artist of the Year,” Green and Mayo with “Songwriter of the Year” Crystals.
Keith took the prize via his recordings of “Country Comes To Town,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!” (co-written with Chuck Cannon) and “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This,” all from his platinum DreamWorks album How Do You Like Me Now?!  Keith’s BMI Awards total now stands at 12, including “Wish I Didn’t Know Now,” “You Ain’t Much Fun,” “Dream Walkin,” “Who’s That Man” and “He Ain’t Worth Missing.”
Green and Mayo teamed to write “Amazed” [2nd award] (Lonestar), “Let’s Make Love” (Faith Hill & Tim McGraw) and “It’s Always Something” (Joe Diffie).  Last year the writers shared, along with Chris Lindsey, BMI Country Song of the Year honors for “Amazed.”  Green’s previous BMI honors came courtesy of “Day In, Day Out” and “True”; Mayo has BMI Citations for “My Best Friend” and “Places I’ve Never Been.”
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. claimed BMI Country Publisher of the Year by accumulating the highest percentage of copyright ownership in award songs. Accepting the BMI Crystal for the publisher, which placed 11 songs on the most-performed list, were Chairman & CEO Les Bider and Executive VP/GM Tim Wipperman of parent company Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Legendary singer/songwriter Willie Nelson was saluted with the President’s Award. BMI created the President’s Award in 1993 to honor an exceptional person or persons in the entertainment industry deserving of special recognition. Presented tonight for only the fifth time, the honor has previously been bestowed on Harlan Howard, Brian Wilson, Earle Hagen and Alabama.
Highlights of the evening included a special tribute to the victims and rescuers of the September 11th disasters.  After a video collage, Preston introduced three men who were on duty that day and responded to the call at the World Trade Center:  New York Fire Department Lieutenants Michael Dilena and Vincent Louis of Engine Co. 236 in East New York, Brooklyn, and New York Police Department Lieutenant Stephen Reardon of the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) in Brooklyn. The officers, who have been at the “ground zero” site since the terrorist attack, were presented with Profile In Courage certificates on behalf of the FDNY and the NYPD. The remembrance tribute continued with a stirring performance by Lee Greenwood of “God Bless The USA”; Greenwood was later honored with the Words of Freedom Award.
Of the 64 songwriters recognized, eight, in addition to Keith, Green and Mayo, were multiple winners: Chris Lindsey, Chad Brock, Tom Douglas, Rick Giles, Bill Luther, Bobby Tomberlin, Danny Wells and Darryl Worley.
Additional publishers collecting three or more awards were Careers-BMG Music Publishing, Inc.; EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.; Sony/ATV Tree; Universal Music Publishing Group (Irving Music, Songs of Universal, Inc., and Universal-Songs of PolyGram International, Inc.); Golden Wheat Music; Mike Curb Music; Songs of Nashville DreamWorks; and Tokeco Tunes.
“Flowers On The Wall” was recognized with its third BMI Country Award.  Written by the late Lew Dewitt of the Statler Brothers, the song was honored in 1966 and 1967 (plus a 1966 Pop Award), and has accumulated more than two million performances.  Three songs were cited for the second consecutive year: “Amazed” (2000 BMI Country Song of the Year); “Breathe” (2001 BMI Pop Song of the Year); and “How Do You Like Me Now?!”
Among this year’s honorees, 25 songs have reached the status of BMI Million-Air (accumulating at least one million broadcast performances) for a total of over 30 million performances.  Based on an average length of three minutes, one million airplays is the equivalent of 50,000 hours or 5.7 years, continuously; Million-Airs on the 2001 Country list translate into 1.5 million hours or 171 years of continuous airplay.
BMI’s Citations of Achievement are given annually in recognition of popularity in the field of country music, as measured by feature broadcast performances on American radio and television; the 2001 Country Awards eligibility period ran April 1, 2000 through March 31, 2001.
Founded in 1940, BMI is an American performing rights organization represent-ing more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all music genres. Through music performance and reciprocal agreements, it grants businesses and media access to its repertoire of more than 4.5 million musical works from around the world.
A complete list of the winners of the 2001 BMI Country Awards follows.  For additional coverage, visit High-resolution photos will be available for downloading after the awards ceremony at
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Caroline Davis, Director of Media Relations
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Brian Tipton, Coordinator of Media Relations
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