With his co-writers Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles on the road performing as Sugarland, Bobby Pinson was the star of the show Thursday (Oct. 30) when BMI celebrated the recent No. 1 status of their song, “All I Want to Do.” The festivities were held at the performance rights organization’s headquarters in Nashville.
Guests arriving for the party were greeted by a colorful Halloween motif created by BMI’s Nancy Moore. It consisted of strategically placed skeletons, large glass urns filled with candy corn and M&Ms and tables covered in black cloth imprinted with tiny gray tombstones. Fake spiders (that looked more real the more one drank) clambered up the sides of the urns.
Pinson stood in the crowd holding his son, Cash, while BMI’s Jody Williams recalled his first encounters with the wisecracking Texas-born songwriter. “When I first saw Bobby,” Williams said, “I didn’t quite know what to make of him.”
In an effort to draw attention to himself, Williams continued, Pinson would drive “what looked like an old ice cream truck” up and down Music Row with loudspeakers blaring to call attention to his upcoming showcases. When he went to one of the showcases, Williams added, he witnessed “a borderline crazy, self-promoting hillbilly star.”
“Then there was the bravado,” Williams sighed, that prompted Pinson to voice his opinion on any conceivable matter, whether asked for it or not.
Since Pinson moved to Nashville in 1996, Williams said, he has had more than 50 of his songs cut, as well as snagging a brief recording deal with RCA Records that yielded one lavishly praised album, Man Like Me. (Alluding to that deal, Pinson quipped, “I’ve arguably had one of the shortest new artist’s careers of all time. You know, here today, gone tonight.”)
Williams remarked on Pinson’s willingness to write with other artists, even when doing so takes him away from his close-knit family. “When asked to work with an artist, he jumps on the bus and goes.” He praised the honoree for “never compromising his art or feeling the need to apologize for his methods.”
Following Williams’ introduction, trophies and plaques were handed out to Pinson, the song’s publishers, Sugarland’s record label (Mercury) and to Sugarland’s producer, Byron Gallimore.
“I would like to thank you for the No. 1 party,” Pinson beamed when it came his time to speak. “Never pass up a free meal,” he advised the crowd as he gestured toward his own generous bulk. “I’m withering away. I’m going to get me a plate and go lie down before it turns to muscle.”
Closing on a philosophical note, Pinson explained to his well-wishers. “You don’t move here to have a hit record. You come here for a license to fly.”