Music Row Toasts Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”

Trio Ends the Celebration by Singing Hit Song and New Single

Success really does have a thousand friends — or so it seemed Wednesday (Jan. 13) when a throng of Music Row insiders gathered at Nashville’s trendy Cabana restaurant to revel in the success of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” the single that recently spent five consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s country songs chart.

It took the better part of an hour for all the people involved in the song to make their speeches and accept their awards.

Co-written by the members of Lady Antebellum (Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood, Hillary Scott) and Josh Kear, “Need You Now” is currently finding audiences outside the country music circle.

“This song is absolutely a monster,” asserted Mike Dungan, president and CEO of Capitol Nashville, Lady Antebellum’s label.

Dungan said the song, in addition to its phenomenal run at country radio, has had 1.4 million downloads on iTunes and is being played on more than 50 Top 40 stations.

He pointed out that the trio’s sophomore album, also called Need You Now, will be released on Jan. 26.

Jody Williams, BMI’s vice president of writer-publisher relations, called the fresh-faced young trio “one of the most influential game-changers our format has heard in years” and noted it will be opening for Tim McGraw on his upcoming tour.

(Kelley and Haywood are affiliated with BMI. Scott is a SESAC writer, and Kear is signed to ASCAP. These are performance rights organizations that collect royalties for public performances of songs.)

Connie Bradley, senior vice president of ASCAP, congratulated Kear and reminded the partygoers that he is also the co-writer of another huge hit, Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.”

Tim Fink, associate vice president of writer-publisher relations for SESAC, commended Scott for her continuing contributions as a songwriter, noting that one of her songs will be on Blake Shelton’s forthcoming album.

Also singled out for praise were Paul Worley (the group’s producer), Capitol’s promotion staff, Lady Antebellum’s management company and the song’s several publishers.

“It takes a village,” Scott said modestly after the last award was handed out. “I think we’re going to sing it.”

And they did. With Haywood providing guitar accompaniment and Kear singing along, Lady Antebellum gave a particularly heartfelt reading of “Need You Now.” They ended the proceedings by singing their latest sunny single, “American Honey.”

View photos from Lady Antebellum’s No. 1 party.
Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to