Terri Clark Helps Songwriter Turn “Mad” to Glad

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Four months after his last No. 1 party — for co-writing Joe Nichols ’ “The Impossible” — Lee Thomas Miller returned in triumph Wednesday (March 19) to the BMI headquarters in Nashville to celebrate another chart-topper, Terri Clark ’s “I Just Wanna Be Mad.” Miller co-wrote both these hits with Kelley Lovelace, who showed up at the party to cheer him on. (Lovelace belongs to ASCAP, BMI’s major competing performance rights society.)

“You think you’ll never get one of these, and then it happens twice,” Thomas marveled, holding up his No. 1 trophy. “This has been a magical song.”

“I Just Wanna Be Mad” was originally put on hold for Sara Evans to record, but when she ultimately passed on it, Mercury Records’ Carson Chamberlain, who’d had his eye on the song from the start, snatched it up for Clark. Byron Gallimore produced it for her.

Taking pains to thank his wife first, Thomas observed, “Sometimes I get up here and thank everyone else I’ve ever known.” He alluded to the frequent disappointments and downturns songwriters face, noting, “The truth is, most days don’t end up like this.” He said the song, which is told from the point of view of a woman who’s still simmering from an argument with her mate, was more about his own temperament than his wife’s.

Clark, who wore her trademark white cowboy hat, spoke briefly at the end of the ceremonies. “I’ve had the pleasure of writing with these guys a lot since [recording] ’I Just Wanna Be Mad,'” she said, “and they’re two of the most deserving guys in the business.” This achievement marked Clark’s first return to the No. 1 spot since “You’re Easy on the Eyes” topped the chart in December 1998. “I didn’t know that I was ever going to be a part of one of these [No. 1 celebrations] again,” she told her well-wishers, “and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

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