Jimmy Buffett, Hugh Prestwood and Jim Weatherly were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame during ceremonies Sunday (Oct. 22) at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.
At the banquet, the Nashville Songwriters Association International announced its song of the year winner -- "Jesus, Take the Wheel" -- and honored Toby Keith, Phil Vassar and Jeffrey Steele with its annual songwriter achievement awards.
To honor Buffett as the 2006 Hall of Fame inductee in the songwriter-artist category, Big & Rich performed his signature song, "Margaritaville," during a tribute that also featured singer-songwriters Marshall Chapman and Buzz Cason and an induction speech by music industry veteran Don Light.
Prestwood and Weatherly were inducted in the Hall of Fame's songwriter category. Singer-songwriter Mike Reid offered the induction speech and Trisha Yearwood and Michael Johnson performed during the tribute to Prestwood, whose songwriting credits include Yearwood's hit, "The Song Remembers When," and Johnson's "That's That" and "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder." Other songs in Prestwood's catalog include "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart" (Randy Travis), "Ghost in This House" (Shenandoah) and "On the Verge" (Collin Raye).
Weatherly is best known for writing several major hits for Gladys Knight & the Pips, including "Midnight Train to Georgia," "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" and "You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me." Weatherly, who also wrote Bryan White's hit, "Someone Else's Star," was honored with an induction speech by industry veteran Charlie Monk and musical performances by singer-songwriter Skip Ewing and American Idol finalist George Huff.
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Nashville Songwriters Foundation.
For the NSAI's songwriter achievement honors, Jeffrey Steele was named songwriter of the year for the third time in four years. Steele's recent writing credits include Rascal Flatts' "What Hurts the Most" and Montgomery Gentry's "Something to Be Proud Of." Keith and Vassar tied this year in the songwriter-artist category.
Songwriters Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson shared accolades for writing the NSAI's song of the year, "Jesus, Take the Wheel." The song was also among those named in a category informally known within the NSAI professional songwriters division as "songs I wish I'd written." Other winners include "Believe" (written by Ronnie Dunn and Craig Wiseman), "If You're Going Through Hell" (Dave Berg, Annie Tate and Sam Tate), "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right" (Marty Dodson and Jason Matthews), "Probably Wouldn't Be This Way" (John Kennedy and Tammi Kidd), "Rose Garden" (Joe South), "Skin (Sarabeth) " (Joe Henry and Doug Johnson), "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" (Gary Hannan and John Wiggins), "What Hurts the Most" (Steve Robson and Jeffrey Steele) and "When I Get Where I'm Going" (Rivers Rutherford and George Teren).
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NSAI awards presentation are part of the music industry's activities leading up to the CMA Awards show on Nov. 6.