Music Row folk packed the capacious lobby of ASCAP’s Nashville headquarters Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 30) to celebrate the No. 1 status of Blake Shelton’s “Came Here to Forget” with the song’s writers, Craig Wiseman and Deric Ruttan.
Shelton was also on hand to enliven the festivities.
ASCAP’s Beth Brinker hosted the party and began by reciting some statistics. “Came Here to Forget” is, she noted, Shelton’s 27th No. 1 single and his 17th in a row. It is Ruttan’s second chart-topper among his 11 Top 10 singles, she added.
For Wiseman, who was ASCAP’s country songwriter of the century, this was his 26th No. 1. He was, Brinker pointed out, also co-writer of Tim McGraw’s massive hit, “Live Like You Were Dying,” which stayed at No. 1 for seven consecutive weeks in 2004 and won two Grammys.
Rusty Gaston, Ruttan’s publisher, was more philosophical than statistical. He said “Came Here to Forget” touches people in important emotional ways, like “the guy who’s had a hard day at work and is driving home to Goodlettsville [a Nashville suburb]” and finding comfort in the song.
John Esposito, Shelton’s label chief at Warner Music Nashville, predicted that Shelton’s 18th No. 1 single is only about five weeks away, a reference to the fast-rising “She’s Got a Way With Words.”
Peter Strickland, Warner’s vice president and general manager, presented Shelton with a gold album for If I’m Honest. He said it is the sixth bestselling album among all genres in 2016 and Shelton’s fastest-selling album to go gold.
Scott Hendricks, Shelton’s producer, told the crowd that Ruttan broke into tears when he told him that “Came Here to Forget” would be the first single off Shelton’s new album.
Admitting that he was an emotional type, Ruttan praised his chief inspiration, his wife.
“Every song I write is about her,” he said. Then, hurriedly correcting himself, he added, “Not this one,” apparently recalling that “Came Here to Forget” is principally about rebound sex.
He lauded Wiseman for taking the time to encourage and advise him shortly after he moved to Nashville, even though Wiseman was already a successful songwriter when they met.
Wiseman, who helms the annual food bank charity, Stars for Second Harvest, credited Shelton with saving the faltering 2016 edition by agreeing to headline it.
Known for his gag gifts at such events, Wiseman presented Shelton a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “I Like Beer” and containing a built-in beer opener.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a more perfect song for me [than ‘Came Here to Forget’] at that time of my life,” Shelton said.