"I never thought I'd ever have another No. 1 song," singer Joe Nichols confessed to a throng of supporters and co-workers who gathered Wednesday (Jan. 22) at the Country Music Association building in Nashville to applaud that very achievement.
This past December, "Sunny and 75" became Nichols' fourth No. 1 single. It has since been certified gold by the RIAA for having sold more than 500,000 digital downloads.
The authors of Nichols' chart resurgence -- songwriters Michael Dulaney, Paul Jenkins and Jason Sellers -- stood with him to share the spotlight. So did his producers, Derek George and Mickey Jack Cones, and representatives from his current label, Red Bow Records.
Nichols last topped the charts in 2010 with "Gimmie That Girl." His other No. 1 singles are "Brokenheartsville" (2003) and "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" (2005).
The celebration was jointly sponsored by the performance rights organizations BMI, which represents Jenkins and Dulaney, and ASCAP, to which Sellers is affiliated.
"Sunny and 75" was the fourth No. 1 for Jenkins and Sellers and the seventh for Dulaney. It was also George's third as a producer.
ASCAP's LeAnn Phelan announced that George and Cones are currently working on a Merle Haggard tribute album for Red Bow.
Following the party, George told CMT.com the tribute will feature covers recorded by artists from Red Bow and its two affiliated labels, Broken Bow and Stoney Creek. It will be released in April.
Jon Loba, executive vice president of Broken Bow Records Music Group, said if he had to find one word to characterize the success being celebrated, it would be "trust."
He praised Nichols for having the trust to sign with Red Bow, even though he had offers from more established labels, and for trusting the handling of his singles at radio to a largely untested promotion team.
Nichols, who's rebounded from substance abuse problems that once threatened to derail his career, was in a jovial mood when it came his turn to address the partygoers.
"The minute 'Sunny and 75' went No. 1," he said, "the first thought I had was, 'Whose face can I rub this into?' That lasted for about 15 seconds, and then I was overcome by gratitude. ... It's rare that people have that confidence in me [that the support team has shown] and for me to have that confidence in myself."
He spotted his publicist, Jennifer Bohler, standing at the side of the stage, and with a wide grin said, "I thank you for the good publicity -- and for putting the fires out when you had to."