Monday’s (Sept. 23) party was sponsored by the performance rights organizations ASCAP and BMI. Eldredge is a BMI member. Gorley and DeStefano are affiliated with ASCAP.
“Don’t Ya” is Eldredge’s first single to top Billboard’s country airplay chart. His two previous efforts, “Raymond” and “It Ain’t Gotta Be Love,” peaked at No. 23 and No. 46, respectively, on Billboard’s country songs chart.
BMI’s Bradley Collins called the crowd to order and introduced Eldredge as “Nashville’s newest big voice.”
Collins said Eldredge went skydiving for the first time on Aug. 28 — as he vowed he would do if “Don’t Ya” went No. 1. It took the song 43 weeks of climbing to attain the top of the chart.
Stepping forward for ASCAP, Ryan Beuschel dubbed Gorley and DeStefano “one of the hottest songwriting teams in Nashville.”
He pointed out the two have collaborated on such recent hits as Jana Kramer’s “Why Ya Wanna,” Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl,” Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party,” Billy Currington’s “Hey Girl” and Chris Young’s “Aw Naw.”
Gorley was ASCAP’s country songwriter of the year in 2009, Beuschel reminded the audience, and — beginning with May of this year — has had at least one song in the Top 20 every week, among them “Crash My Party,” Randy Houser’s “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” and Easton Corbin’s “All Over the Road.”
“Don’t Ya” is Gorley’s 11th No. 1.
Avenue Bank, which co-sponsors BMI’s No. 1 country parties, presented the three songwriters certificates confirming that donations had been made in their names to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Eldredge’s charity of choice.
The singer’s first single, “Raymond,” deals with the subject of memory loss in old age, and Eldredge told CMT.com after the party that his grandmother had been afflicted with Alzheimer’s.
John Esposito, head of Warner Music Nashville, under which Eldredge’s label, Atlantic Records, is housed, was not the least nostalgic about the time it took “Don’t Ya” to reach No. 1.
“Everybody’s saying that’s tenacity,” he grumbled. “I’m saying I’m a … year older.”
Eldredge was the first person Esposito signed after coming to Nashville. He recalled meeting Eldredge for dinner at the Palm restaurant and telling him, “You’re the next Velvet Fog.”
Esposito said he was astounded when the then 23-year-old Eldredge replied, “I love Mel Torme.”
“He’s one of the greatest voices I’ve heard in my life,” Esposito said of Eldredge.
The singer’s next single will be “Beat of the Music.”