Country Awards Dinner Nov. 5, 2002
Presented by Frances Preston
We have a very special award to present tonight – the first BMI ICON Award to a country music songwriter. The BMI ICON Award, presented only four other times, is for a writer who has had a unique and indelible influence on music.
Our honoree is a man who has devoted his life to expressing himself – and all of us – in songs that have touched our hearts, made us think, made us smile, made us cry, made us celebrate or helped us mourn, and never ever rang a false note to our ears.
Since the late nineteen fifties his songs have survived and thrived during every trend in country music – every downturn, every upturn, every change in country music radio programming, every new fashion statement. He’s found new words and rhythms in each of those decades to express the moods and concerns of each new time. He’s written songs by himself and chosen co-writers who were then, and are today, the cream of the country crop.
The relevance of his work has been rewarded with nearly 50 charting singles in a continuous chain from 1958 to 2002. He’s also received well over 50 BMI Country & Pop Awards and won a CMA Award last year on the same night he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He’s also a proud member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Georgia Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.
This is a songwriter, recording artist and well-known television personality who epitomizes the traditions of country music – family values, community values, the value of hard work and a commitment to his own spirit.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please make a loud noise for the man whose motto has always been: “If you want someone’s attention, whisper”