After a Long Night, It’s “Good Morning Beautiful”

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“Good Morning Beautiful” came at the end of a very long night. Tuesday (Feb. 26) friends, family and business associates assembled at the ASCAP offices in Nashville to congratulate the song’s writers, Todd Cerney and Zack Lyle, and singer Steve Holy. Holy’s recording of the song has stayed at the No. 1 spot for five weeks on both the Billboard and Radio & Records charts.

Five weeks may seem a long time, but it’s nothing compared to the time Cerney, Lyle and Holy had to wait for “Good Morning Beautiful” to make something of itself. The song was less than a year old and had already been pitched to other artists (including Bryan White, who passed on it) when it was brought to Holy’s attention in 1997. At the time, he had not yet signed to his current label, Curb Records. He said “Good Morning” was the first song pitched to him and that he liked it “immediately.”

There’s another first involved. “Good Morning Beautiful” is also the first of Lyle’s songs to be recorded. Cerney is a veteran composer, whose many credits include “I’ll Still Be Loving You,” recorded by Restless Heart and named ASCAP’s country song of the year for 1987.

“It’s only because [Steve] believed in the song that this happened,” Cerney told the well-wishers. Added Lyle, “We probably have the same people here who have heard me sing ‘Good Morning Beautiful’ at writer’s nights for the past four years.”

Holy disclaimed all responsibility for the song’s success. “You wrote a hit, and you know it,” he told the writers. “I don’t deserve any credit. I just took a hit and karaoked it.”

Among the luminaries attending the celebration were songwriters Wood Newton (“Riding With Private Malone”), Vince Melamed (“Walkaway Joe”) and Richard Fagan (“Sold, the Grundy County Auction Incident”); singer/guitarist Bill Lloyd; Brien Fisher, producer of the Kendalls’ CMA- and Grammy-winning single, “Heaven’s Just a Sin Away”; Lee Stoller, producer, manager, biographer and husband of inspirational singer Cristy Lane; and Kip Kirby, former TNN reporter and Cerney’s wife. Holy’s producer, Wilbur Rimes, did not attend.

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