BMI, the American performance rights organization representing over 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers of multiple genres, saluted the writers and publishers of the past year’s most performed Christian songs during the BMI Christian Music Awards on Tuesday of June 22, 2004.
The highest honors awards were reserved for “To Ever Live Without Me” as Song of the Year; Steven Curtis Chapman, Bob Herdman, Will McGinniss and Mark Stuart as Songwriters of the Year; and EMI Music CMG Publishing as Publisher of the Year. The program also included a presentation by BMI Executive Vice President Del Bryant in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Gospel Music Association; GMA President John Styll accepted the commemorative silver piece.
Founded in 1939, BMI granted businesses and media access through its performance and reciprocoal agreements to its repertoire of approximately 4.5 million musical works from around the world.
Joyce Rice, Director, Writer/Publisher Relations, and Thomas Cain, Senior Director, Writer/Publisher Relations, awarded BMI Citations of Achievement to 31 songs in five categories: AC [Adult Contemporary], CHR [Christian Hit Radio], Contemporary/Traditional Gospel, Rock, and Southern Gospel. Staged at the company’s Music Row offices, the ceremonies featured special performances by Lemmie Battles and the quartet Mercy’s Mark for the crowd of 200 writers, artists, and executives.
Joe Beck and Chad Chapin accepted the BMI Crystal for Most Performed Christian Song of the Year as writers of “To Ever Live Without Me." Published by CEC Animal Music and EMI Music CMG Publishing, “To Ever Live Without Me" was recorded by Jody McBrayer on his Sparrow Records album This Is Who I Am. This is Beck’s second BMI Christian Music Award; he was previously honored for “Bring Christ Your Broken Heart.” Chapin, who is drummer in the rock band Tait, has collected BMI awards for writing the dcTalk songs “All You Got” and “Godsend.”
Of the 50 writers called out, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bob Herdman, Will McGinniss and Mark Stuart each placed two songs on the awards list to share the title of BMI Christian Songwriter of the Year.
Chapman, BMI’s 2001 and 2003 Christian Songwriter of the Year, was cited for writing the AC hits “All About Love” and “How Do I Love Her,” included on his Sparrow Records album All About Love.
Herdman and Audio Adrenaline members McGinniss and Stuart were recognized for the Audio Adrenaline CHR hits “Ocean Floor” and “Pierced,” from the band’s Grammy-winning ForeFront release Worldwide. The three have also collaborated on two previous BMI Award winners by Audio Adrenaline: “Hands and Feet” and “Will Not Fade.”
EMI Music CMG Publishing enjoyed the BMI Christian Publisher of the Year spotlight by accumulating the highest percentage of copyright ownership in award songs [through its companies River Oaks Music Company, Sparrow Song and Up In The Mix Music]. President Eddie DeGarmo accepted on behalf of the publisher, which placed six songs total on the most performed list: in addition to Song of the Year “To Ever Live Without Me,” EMI’s winning titles were “All About Love,” “How Do I Love Her,” “Song Of Love,” “Ocean Floor” and “Pierced.”
Additional multiple award publishers were Bridge Building Music, Inc.; Dwight Frye Music, Inc.; Flicker U.S.A. Publishing; Lilly Mack Music; Peach Hill Songs; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.; and Zomba Songs Inc.
A highlight of the ceremonies was special acknowledgment of “Three Wooden Crosses,” written by Doug Johnson and published by his company Sweet Radical Music and by Mike Curb Music. The first song released by a gospel label to reach #1 on the country charts, “Three Wooden Crosses” was named Song of the Year by the ACM , the CMA  and NSAI , and Country Recorded Song of the Year at the GMA’s Dove Awards . Johnson was presented with a Citation of Appreciation which recognized the song’s message, which has “renewed faith in millions of listeners around the world.”
Other BMI award-winning songwriter/artists who contributed to the most-performed list were Rebecca St. James, Jars of Clay, Vickie Winans, Donnie McClurkin, John P. Kee, 12 Stones, Relient K, Big Dismal, Gerald Crabb, Marc Byrd, Dorinda Clark Cole, Richard Smallwood, and Greater Vision.