Writers of George Strait’s Latest Hit Honored by ASCAP, BMI

Mark Bright, Tim James, Phil O'Donnell Spotlighted

ASCAP and BMI, the performance rights organizations, honored the three writers of George Strait’s latest hit single, “Give It All We Got Tonight,” with a party held Monday (June 24) at the Country Music Association building in Nashville.

The song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s country airplay chart.

Spotlighted were songwriters Mark Bright, a member of ASCAP, and BMI affiliates Tim James and Phil O’Donnell, along with Strait’s long-time co-producer, Tony Brown.

Strait did not attend. He has charted consistently since 1981 when he debuted with “Unwound.”

Speaking on behalf of ASCAP, Michael Martin noted that “Give It All We Got Tonight” was Strait’s 115th single.

It was also Bright’s top charting country song to date, Martin said, although he pointed out that Bright has produced a total of 28 No. 1 songs for such artists as Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery and Rascal Flatts.

BMI’s Perry Howard recited James and O’Donnell’s songwriting triumphs. James’ credits, he said, included Toby Keith’s “My List,” Trace Adkins“All I Ask for Anymore” and Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy.”

O’Donnell, Howard continued, is best known for co-writing Montgomery Gentry’s “Back When I Knew It All,” Clay Walker’s “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” and Darryl Worley’s “Sounds Like Life to Me.”

When it came his time to respond to all the applause, James read a long list of thanks that began with the Trinity and concluded with his publisher. His best line came, however, when he looked out into the crowd and said, “My attorney’s here. He’s charging me.”

O’Donnell expressed his gratitude to the MCA Records promotion team that had nudged the song up the charts.

A clearly emotional Bright, unused to being praised as a songwriter, came to the podium and declared, “I love everybody in this room.”

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