Anthony Smith, Tony Lane Celebrate ‘Run’ to the Top

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The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the performance rights society, honored the writers of George Strait ’s current single, “Run,” Wednesday (Jan. 30), following the song’s arrival at No. 1 on the Radio & Records chart. The writers are Tony Lane and Anthony Smith.

Since this was Smith’s first chart-topper, ASCAP membership representative Mike Doyle began the presentation of trophies by welcoming him into the “ASCAP No. 1 Club” and presenting him with a jacket emblazoned with the society’s logo.

Alluding to the fact that “Run” did not reach No. 1 in Billboard, the other top music trade magazine, Lane’s publisher, Pat Finch, vice president of Famous Music, told the celebrants, “If it’s No. 1 in Bob’s Chart Service, I’ll take it.”

Finch said someone had suggested that Lane deserved to have a street named for him for this latest achievement, whereupon he handed the surprised writer a green street sign with white lettering that read “#1 Tony Lane Ln.”

Smith’s publisher, David Conrad, senior vice president of Almo/Irving Music, called Smith “a rare, rare songwriter [who] picks pretty good partners.” Warming to the subject, Conrad added, “I picture him leaving home and his mom telling him, ’Write a song, pitch it to George Strait, get a No. 1 and wear clean underwear in case you’re in a car wreck.’ Three out of four ain’t bad.”

Speaking after the ceremonies, Lane and Smith said the song just sort of drifted together, with Smith having a melody he was “fumbling with” and Lane toying with wordplays on “run.” Initially, they tried a double-entendre spelling: “R . . U . . N to me?” Then they pared it down to “Run to me” and finally settled on just “Run.”

Also on hand for the party were Tony Brown, who co-produced “Run” with Strait, and singer John Brannen, the third member of Mercury Records’ 1993 “Triple Play” tour that launched the careers of Toby Keith and Shania Twain . Brannen is forming a band and aims to return to recording.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to