The best part about attending a No. 1 party for Keith Urban is that he always does a live performance of the song being honored.
And so it was Monday afternoon (Aug. 6) when a crowd of Music Row insiders gathered at the Back Corner bar in Nashville to cheer Urban on for his 24th top single, “The Fighter.” Upping the entertainment quotient considerably was the fact that Carrie Underwood, his duet partner on the recording, showed up to sing along with him.
Urban’s co-writer on the song — busbee — also sang and played bass on the performance (As Urban used to do in his early stages as an artist, busbee shuns the use of capital letters in his name.).
“I just played four shows in a row,” Urban announced. “I’ll see if can still sing today.” With that, he stepped down on his drum pedal and was off and running.
The Back Corner is a postage-stamp-size venue that lives up to its modest name. The party was a shoulder-to-shoulder event — so crowded that waiters found it difficult to circulate with their snack trays. A semicircle of well-wishers stood at the very edge of the tiny stage at the back of the room clicking away with their phone cameras.
Jody Williams, vice president of creative for BMI, the party’s sponsor, hosted the presentations with his usual mixture of good humor and drill sergeant efficiency.
“This just goes to show that it’s never too late to celebrate a No. 1,” he told the crowd, noting that “The Fighter” went No. 1 “a year and two weeks ago.” He added that Urban currently has another single nearing the top, “Coming Home,” which features Julia Michaels (It now stands at No. 3 on Billboard’s country airplay chart.).
Williams joked that he couldn’t keep track of where busbee lives, noting that he seems to be working full-time in both Nashville and Los Angeles, where he writes with and produces pop acts.
“The Fighter” is busbee’s 5th No. 1 as a songwriter, Williams noted. Underwood praised Urban for his artistic adventurousness. “Every time I’m around him,” she said, “he’s always listening to new music.”
Urban said he was in London when he came up with the idea for the duet song and then asked busbee to fly over to help him complete it.
“I want to say a huge thanks to my wife [actress Nicole Kidman] for inspiring this song,” he said. Before they were married, he explained, he spent some time assuring her that “I’d be a good bet.”