“With all that has happened surrounding this song, this should be a day of thanks,” proclaimed a jubilant Darryl Worley. “I want to thank these three guys for writing a song that couldn’t be denied.” The song he alluded to was “I Miss My Friend,” a cry from the heart he recently took to the top of the charts. The songwriters who basked in his gratitude were Tony Martin, Tom Shapiro and Mark Nesler.
BMI, the performance rights organization, honored Worley and the writers with a recent reception at its Nashville office. In addition to those given the writers, awards were also presented to Worley; his producers — James Stroud and Frank Rogers — and key staff members at Worley’s label, DreamWorks Records.
“No. 1’s don’t happen that often,” beamed Lisa Ramsey, vice president and general manager of Mosaic Music, one of the song’s publishers. “I, for one, am gonna party like a rock star tonight.” (The other publishers are Buna Boy, Glitterfish, Sony/ATV Tree and Wenonga.)
Stroud, who heads DreamWorks’ country division, said that not long after he came to the label a friend persuaded him to fly to Savannah, Tennessee, to see Worley perform. When he arrived at the tiny airport, the lone attendant there surprised him with the news that there were no cars to rent and no taxis to hire. After Stroud explained that he had come to hear a local guy sing, the attendant gave him the keys to his own car.
The club where Worley was performing was so cramped, Stroud recalled, that Worley’s head almost touched the ceiling. Stroud also noticed that the singer’s knuckles were bloody. “Are you OK?” he asked. Worley assured him that he was, explaining, “I had to stop a couple of fights before I started.”
Concluding his reminiscences, Stroud turned to Worley and said, “Thank God for country music. You are our leader in country music today.”