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Just days removed from scoring the biggest album sales debut in five years, Taylor Swift has been lauded for her songwriting by performing rights organization BMI, which named her Songwriter of the Year. Additionally, Taylor’s “You Belong With Me,” which she co-wrote with Liz Rose, was named Song of the Year, making her the only songwriter ever to win the award three years in a row.
The 58th annual BMI Country Awards were held tonight (Nov. 9) at the company’s Music Row offices.
At 20 years old, Taylor became the youngest person ever to win the BMI Country Songwriter of the Year crown. (Bill Anderson won the honor in 1960 at age 23 and Johnny Cash won in 1956 at age 24.) Taylor earned the award thanks to her self-recorded compositions “Fifteen,” “White Horse” and “You Belong With Me,” as well as “Best Days of Your Life,” recorded by Kellie Pickler.
“You Belong With Me” also earned Swift her third consecutive BMI Country Song of the Year win. In 2008, she became the youngest songwriter ever to win the honor, while earlier this year she became the youngest individual ever to pen the BMI Pop Song of the Year.
Meanwhile, Billy Sherrill, the father of the contemporary country sound, was named a BMI Icon. The Icon designation is given to BMI songwriters and artists who have had “a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” As a BMI Icon, he joins a list of past honorees that includes Kris Kristofferson, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Isaac Hayes, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and James Brown, among others.
Billy’s work was celebrated with an all-star tribute including Ronnie Dunn, who performed “The Most Beautiful Girl,” Martina McBride, who contributed “’Til I Can Make It on My Own,” Faith Hill, who delivered “Stand By Your Man,” and George Strait, who offered “My Elusive Dreams."