Dillon, who was named this year’s BMI Icon, joins an elite list of songwriters who have had “a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers” and was honored with an all-star tribute from some of country’s biggest stars, including Luke Bryan performing Dillon’s BMI award-winning hit “Unwound,” Lee Ann Womack with an emotional rendition of “An Empty Glass” and Kenny Chesney with the country classic “Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk.” George Strait, who alone has recorded 54 of Dillon’s songs, paid homage with a medley of three of his most notable Dillon-penned hits, including “The Chair,” “Marina Del Rey” and “Here for a Good Time.”
Rodney Clawson was named Songwriter of the Year, with writing credits on six of the most-performed songs of the past year, including “Drink On It” recorded by Blake Shelton, “Drunk On You” by Luke Bryan, “One of Those Nights” by Tim McGraw, “Take a Little Ride” by Jason Aldean, “Where I Come From” by Montgomery Gentry and “Did It for the Girl” by Greg Bates.
Hunter Hayes’ smash hit “Wanted,” penned by Hayes and Troy Verges, won the coveted Song of the Year award. Published by Happy Little Man Publishing, Songs from the Engine Room and Songs of Universal, Inc., “Wanted” garnered more than one million performances in 2012 alone, making it one of the most-performed songs of the year.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville continued their winning streak of over a decade, again taking home the Publisher of the Year accolade. Responsible for 20 of the 50 most-performed songs of the year, Sony/ATV published megahits such as Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup,” Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” and many more. During the ceremony, BMI also saluted the songwriters and publishers of the 50 most-performed country songs of the previous year.
BMI President Del Bryant hosted the ceremony with Jody Williams, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville; Michael O’Neill, BMI Chief Executive Officer; and Clay Bradley, BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville.