Kristofferson Named BMI Icon, Awards Date Set

photo: Mary Ellen Mark

photo: Mary Ellen Mark

Kris Kristofferson will be honored as a BMI Icon at the U.S. music rights organization’s 57th annual Country Awards. Slated for Tuesday, November 10 in Nashville, the black-tie, invitation-only gala will celebrate the songwriters of the past year’s most-performed country songs from the BMI catalog. Hosted by BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and Nashville Writer/Publisher VP Jody Williams, the event will honor the Country Songwriter of the Year, Country Publisher of the Year and Most Performed Country Song of the Year, also known as the Robert J. Burton Award.

The Icon designation is given to BMI songwriters and artists who have had “a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” Kristofferson, who will be saluted with an all-star musical tribute that evening, joins an elite list of past honorees that includes country music stalwarts Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, Charlie Daniels, Loretta Lynn and last year’s honoree Hank Williams Jr., along with multi-genre nobility like the Bee Gees, James Brown, Crosby, Stills & Nash and more.

With the penetration of a poet and the humbling grace of a troubadour, Kristofferson built a legendary career recognized for versatility and authenticity. He has received 48 BMI Country and Pop Awards for his compositions including “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “Why Me,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” Three Grammys line his shelves. He is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter of the Year, and eight of his compositions have generated substantially more than one million performances.

While he wrote most of his masterpieces alone, his co-writers include giants Shel Silverstein, Marijohn Wilkin, and Fred Foster. He has starred in numerous films, including Lone Star, the Blade trilogy, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, A Star Is Born, for which he garnered a Golden Globe, and Songwriter, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Along with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash, Kristofferson also formed the Highwaymen. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. Recording now for New West Records, he will release a new album in September. A Rhodes Scholar capable of choosing virtually any path, Kristofferson decided to write songs, and for that, purveyors and lovers of American music are eternally grateful.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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