‘Friday Night’ Sweet Ride To No. 1

Marshall Altman, Eric Paslay, Rose Falcon and Rob Crosby, (back row): ASCAP's Mike Sistad, Cal IV Entertainment's Daniel Hill, The Song Factory's Jennifer Johnson, Universal Music Group Nashville's Mike Dungan and BMI's David Preston. Photo by Ed Rode.

Front row (L-R): Marshall Altman, Eric Paslay, Rose Falcon and Rob Crosby, (back row): ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, Cal IV Entertainment’s Daniel Hill, The Song Factory’s Jennifer Johnson, Universal Music Group Nashville’s Mike Dungan and BMI’s David Preston. Photo: Ed Rode.

“I’ve never seen a team put their heads down and leave blood on the tracks like this one,” assured UMG Nashville boss Mike Dungan yesterday (Feb. 24) during the No. 1 party for “Friday Night” held at CMA. Then he named every member of the EMI Records Nashville radio promotion team that drove the Eric Paslay song to the top.

Their efforts resulted in a landmark hit for those behind the cut. It is Paslay’s first chart-topper as an artist and fourth as a songwriter. It is the first No. 1 for co-writer Rose Falcon and the first for The Song Factory, the publishing home to co-writer Rob Crosby. “Friday Night” marked Crosby’s third No. 1.

Paslay’s career is as red-hot as his hair. He had previously received the CMA Triple Play award, signifying three chart-toppers in one year, as a writer on “Angel Eyes” (Love and Theft), “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” (Jake Owen) and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” (Eli Young Band). Paslay co-wrote the current Rascal Flatts single “Rewind” and has a cut on Amy Grant’s latest album, on which he and Sheryl Crow contribute vocals. (The same song, “Deep As It Is Wide,” also appears on his self-titled debut.)

“Friday Night” first saw the light of day on Lady Antebellum’s 2011 Own The Night, though it wasn’t released as a single. Producer Marshall Altman is behind Paslay’s rollicking version.

Taking the stage to salute their respective affiliates were ASCAP’s Mike Sistad and BMI’s David Preston. Cal IV President Daniel Hill toasted everyone involved with the hit, saying, “On this side of a No. 1 it looks easy, but it is anything but.” Paslay joined the publishing company as an intern eight years ago. Hill joked, “We’ve been working with him so long we’re starting to look like him,” and held up a mask with a red beard.

Jennifer Johnson from The Song Factory recalled signing Crosby after falling in love with his music. “That’s where my heart was,” she said earnestly before complimenting Crosby’s gentlemanly manners and strong work ethic. She added, “Eric is the first one to congratulate others… He always shows gratitude and graciousness.”

On behalf of Avenue Bank, Ron Cox presented a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of the writers. Brandi Simms distributed the CMA’s No. 1 medallions.

“I feel like it’s the end of a movie,” said an emotional Paslay, “but it’s the beginning of a movie, really. Thank y’all for letting me dream and thank you for not waking me up from it.”

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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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