BMI Fetes Writers of “I Hate Everything”

Keith Stegall, Gary Harrison Add to Strait's No. 1's

Publicity-shy George Strait didn’t show up, of course, but virtually everyone else involved in the creation and success of “I Hate Everything,” Strait’s latest No. 1 single, converged on BMI’s Nashville headquarters Tuesday (Jan. 18) to celebrate.

Written by veteran composers Keith Stegall and Gary Harrison, “I Hate Everything,” is included in Strait’s 50 Number Ones album, which, as of last week, had sold 1,963,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the service that monitors actual retail record sales.

Stegall told he’d “had a few cocktails” and was “hating everything” when he got the idea for the song — in which a man at a bar pours out his domestic woes to a fellow drinker. After beginning work on the song, Stegall took it to Harrison to finish.

Before the two writers “demoed” the song, Stegall partook of a few more cocktails at The Trap, a Nashville nightclub owned by Erv Woolsey, Strait’s manager, and Steve Ford. On an impulse, Stegall sang the song to Ford, who was so impressed by it that he summoned Woolsey to listen. Woolsey immediately put a “hold” on the song for Strait and then called Stegall the next morning to reinforce the point that he wanted it. After that, Stegall and Harrison recorded a proper demo for Strait to hear.

“It’s the only song in my life I’ve ever pitched without a demo,” Stegall told the crowd after BMI ’s Harry Warner had presented him and Harrison their awards. Added Harrison, “I just want to thank Keith for letting me be in his orbit all these years. … I think Keith will be able to buy a liver transplant with all these proceeds.”

The proceeds should, indeed, be quite substantial. When asked the two writers to estimate how much income the song will generate for its writers and publishers during the first five years, they speculated it would be in the range of $2 million.

“It’ll be very healthy,” Harrison acknowledged.

“I Hate Everything” topped the Billboard country singles chart in October.

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