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Ronnie Dunn was honored by performing rights organization BMI recently for garnering over 60 million radio plays of his songs during his career. Thirteen Brooks & Dunn songs garnered over 1 million plays each including “Brand New Man” (3 million radio plays) “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” (6 million radio plays), “She’s Not the Cheatin’ Kind” (3 million) and “Little Miss Honkytonk” (2 million).
The total puts Ronnie in the same category as The Bee Gees and Merle Haggard. “It embarrasses me,” Ronnie told reporters with a laugh. "We were lucky to come along when radio was at its peak, at a time when a lot of us were writing the Garth way. I can remember promo guys at Arista telling us that country radio was bringing in more income at the time than pop music. It was a great time back then, and still is. That's how I ended up with those Merle Haggard and Bee Gees numbers.”
Ronnie says he’s still surprised at how his career longevity as one-half of Brooks & Dunn has surpassed his expectations. “Kix and I, all we wanted to do was sell a half-million records. We thought if we could do that, we’d be good for two or three years. We never planned for something big to happen. You just put your head down and put one foot in front of the other.”
The Nashville office at BMI was transformed with a stage, linen-draped tables, a buffet that included salmon, cheeses, fruit and assorted hors d'oeuvres. Ronnie's longtime Brooks & Dunn cohort Kix Brooks was also on hand to celebrate with him.
“I’m still kind of rolling on a bus with a five-piece band, traveling one honky-tonk at a time. That’s what we’re doing these days. It's hard to wrap my mind around it,” Ronnie told reporters prior to the event. Indeed, Ronnie's new status as a solo artist has him feeling like a hungry music newcomer again. "It feels like going back to grassroots and campaigning and going door to door. There's something about that I missed. Last year I had eight semis and six buses and fifty-something guys on the road with me. I’ve got two buses now and a broken-down semi and a 10x12 backdrop with my name on it. My band is smokin’-hot. We all jump on the bus now and have a beer and talk about how we can tighten things up. That's the fun part of the game for me.”