Sharing the spotlight with Niemann were songwriters Derek George, Lance Miller and brothers Brad and Brett Warren.
The celebration was jointly sponsored by the performance rights organizations ASCAP (with which Niemann and George are affiliated), BMI (The Warren Brothers’ home PRO) and SESAC (to which Miller belongs).
ASCAP’s LeAnn Phelan called the party to order by summoning all the principal players to the stage, including Niemann’s co-producer, Jimmie Lee Sloas.
Phelan reminded the crowd that “Drink to That All Night” is Niemann’s second chart-topper as an artist, his first having been “Lover, Lover” in 2010. As a songwriter, she continued, Niemann has helped sell more than 10 million albums for other artists.
“His manager says he writes really well drunk,” she said with a disarming smile.
For George, it was his second top hit as a songwriter, Phelan noted. His first came in 1996 for singer Bryan White with “So Much for Pretending.”
As a producer, George has scored three No. 1’s, Phelan pointed out.
Perry Howard, speaking for BMI, reported the Warrens have co-written five No. 1’s. He also had high praise for Niemann, pointing out he has known him for 15 years and was once his roommate.
SESAC’s Shannan Hatch elicited a roar of recognition from the crowd as soon as she mentioned Miller’s name.
“Does anyone in Nashville not know Lance Miller?” she asked rhetorically.
Hatch spoke of Miller’s talent and tenacity as a songwriter and announced this is his first No. 1.
“We really shouldn’t call this (songwriting) work because we have so much fun,” George told the partygoers.
Miller seemed a bit dazzled to be in the winner’s circle.
“I don’t hardly know how to act,” he admitted. “I’m usually down there (in the crowd) looking up here.”
“You have to realize how many things have to go right to get a No. 1,” Niemann marveled. “These guys wrote the song, but they were also part of the record. They came in and sang on it.”
Niemann said he chose to record “Drink to That All Night” because the Warren Brothers withheld a song he really wanted to cut so they could make it available to a more prominent artist.
The Warrens grinned sheepishly as he told his story.
“I could have held a grudge,” Niemann continued, exuding magnanimity. “But I took the high road. Guess what? No one cut their other song. So I got it back.”