BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Dozens of songwriters gathered to celebrate the BMI Pop Music Awards honoring Paul Simon (search) and other colleagues. But some couldn't place the name of the organization that keeps tabs on their royalties.
"BMI. What is it? Business Management? Broadcast Management? It's funny. I'm signed to BMI and I don't even know what it is," mused Mario Winans (search), an honoree for his U.S. and U.K. smash, "I Don't Wanna Know."
The correct answer was Broadcast Music, Inc., an American performing-rights organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers.
"Most importantly, they collect the money," Patrick Michael Smith (search) said, laughing, but only half-joking.
BMI assures that Smith, who co-wrote Usher's "Yeah," receives royalties from record sales and radio play, as well as other uses of his work such as TV commercials and downloaded ringtones for cellular phones.
The most-performed song in BMI's repertoire is "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," written by husband-and-wife songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
At Tuesday night's honors at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel, "Feeling" was honored for passing the 10 million-performance mark.
Mann rattled off some of the team's other hits: "On Broadway," "Here You Come Again," "Somewhere Out There," "Sometimes When We Touch," "We Got To Get Out of This Place," "Kicks," "Hungry," "He's Sure the Boy I Love," "Uptown," "New World Coming," "Make Your Own Kind of Music," and "I Just Can't Help Believing."
"That's incredible," observed Weil. "I'm very proud you remembered all of those."
"As I get older," Mann said, "I forget more names."
Grammy-winner Paul Simon accepted the BMI Icon Award for career achievement. He didn't give an acceptance speech but did perform "Slip Slidin' Away".
Maroon 5, Brian Wilson, Joss Stone and Yolanda Adams also performed Simon's songs in the tribute.
Simon called the tributes "very touching."
"Great music is great music, and stands the test of time," said Grammy-winning gospel-soul singer Adams. "How many of us know Bridge Over Troubled Water? . . . You think about this man and he has a career that spans over 30 years."