The beach was phony, but the rum was real -- and that's what counted with the merrymakers gathered at BMI's Nashville offices Tuesday (Feb. 22) to celebrate the success of Blake Shelton's "Some Beach," the recent No. 1 single written by Paul Overstreet and Rory Lee Feek.
After the BMI fest, which honored Overstreet, adjourned, the crowd trooped across the street to ASCAP, a competing performance rights society, to salute Feek.
A temporary stage in the BMI lobby was designed to simulate a beach, complete with a beach chair, fake palms and a tropical sunset. ASCAP festooned its reception area with beach balls. In a switch from their usual buttoned-up business attire, BMI's party elves clad themselves in Hawaiian shirts and strode about while the bar pumped out margaritas and Tequila Sunrises.
Among those milling and hugging at BMI were Country Music Hall of Fame member Jo Walker-Meador (the former chief of the Country Music Association) and songwriters Dean Dillon, Lari White, Chuck Jones, Scotty Emerick, Even Stevens and Rob Crosby.
"Some beach up here, ain't it?" BMI's Joyce Rice asked rhetorically as she greeted the crowd and beckoned Overstreet to the stage. She noted that Overstreet was a five-time winner of BMI's country songwriter of the year award and commended him for the sense of humor he displayed in such songs as "Diggin' Up Bones," "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" and "It Takes a Whole Lot of Liquor to Like Her."
When Rice presented him his trophy, Overstreet joked, "It's been so long. The last time I won one, I could read [the engravings on] the cup." Rice also announced Overstreet's "Deeper Than the Holler" has registered 3 million public performances (including airplay), while his "When You Say Nothing at All" now stands at 4 million. Overstreet announced that he's written another whimsical ditty called "I Think She Only Loves Me for My Willie."
Accepting his award, Shelton said, "I figure you have only nine or 10 hits [like this] in a career. I'd like to space mine out over about 30 years." Shelton's other No. 1's are "Austin" (2001) and "The Baby" (2003). He praised Overstreet as "my hero, especially when I was in high school" and added that he was happy that 'Some Beach" showed "what a sicko he really is. People think he's just a family man."
Overstreet presented songwriter Bobby Braddock, who's also Shelton's producer, an award from his publishing company for recording "Some Beach." When he handed him the plaque, Overstreet did a brief George Jones imitation, singing through clenched teeth "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which is Braddock's most famous composition.
Later at ASCAP, Shelton sat down with reporters to reflect on his latest hit. As "Some Beach" boomed in from the building's sound system and threatened to drown out the interview, he growled "Stupid song!"
"I'm glad to finally have a tempo hit," he said. "My show's so slow that people are killing themselves." Noting that his last No. 1 was "The Baby," he continued, "Dadgum, I was beginning to think that was it. ... I would love to know what it's like to have two hits in a row."
Although people tend to hear "Some Beach" as being a "Jimmy Buffett song," Shelton said he thought it was more in the Bellamy Brothers tradition. In discussing the song's influences with Braddock, he said, they concluded, "We didn't realize Jimmy Buffett had a copyright on the ocean."
Shelton acknowledged that "Some Beach" is the phonetic rendering of how some Southerners say "son of a bitch," but remarked, "If you get mad about this song, you've probably got too much time on your hands."
"Goodbye Time," a Conway Twitty hit from 1988, is Shelton's current single. He said he didn't hear the song when it was first on the charts but that he has had a conversation about it with Dee Henry, Twitty's widow and sometimes co-producer.
During the segment that ended the ASCAP party, awards were handed out to Feek, Braddock, Shelton and the song's ASCAP publishing company, Blacktop Music, which is co-owned by Clint Black. Black was on hand to accept the award, as well as an impromptu and belated burst of praise from ASCAP's Connie Bradley. Apropos of nothing, she declared that "When I Said I Do," a song Black recorded with his wife, Lisa Hartman, in 1999, was a "classic."
Braddock declared that "Some Beach" is "the best anger management song ever written. ... It's good therapy."