Members of the Nashville music industry gathered at performing rights organization BMI’s Nashville office yesterday (Aug. 17) to celebrate Rascal Flatts‘ 17th No. 1 hit, “Yours If You Want It.” The track was penned by ASCAP writer Jonathan Singleton, who is signed with Big Machine Music, and the late BMI writer Andrew Dorff, represented by UMPG Nashville.
The celebration was bittersweet, as Dorff died in December 2016. He had just turned 40. “Yours If You Want It” marks Dorff’s fifth No. 1 single. In tribute, attendees donned Dorff’s signature gray shirt, sunglasses and cigar uniform.
BMI’s Leslie Roberts and ASCAP’s Beth Brinker were on hand to honor the song and its writers.
“It is a bittersweet day, but I prefer to focus on the sweet,” said Roberts, “the success of uber-talented songwriter Andrew Dorff, and the celebration of the power of music and songs. Lyrically when you hear this song, it’s ‘classic Dorff.’ When we hear one of his songs is on the radio, we will smile and think of all of the love he showered on all of us.”
UMPG’s Kent Earls said, “Andrew would have loved this day. He loved writing songs and getting those songs recorded and getting singles. I’m honored that we get to celebrate another Andrew Dorff No. 1 today. Imagine walking into a writing room and meeting Dorff for the first time—slumped down in a chair, gray shirt or hoodie, covered in tats, wearing sunglasses inside, with no guitar or computer. If you didn’t know Andrew, that had to be intimidating. There were few writers who could see through that veneer and even fewer who could see what it took creatively and emotionally to pull the best out of Andrew. Jonathan Singleton was at the top of that list. It is rare that we get to see both writers equally represented throughout a song. Jonathan with your insane melodies and the undeniable phrasing paired with Andrew’s twisted lyrical sensibilities, ‘Yours If You Want It’ is the epitome of what you guys created every time you wrote together.”
Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar celebrated Singleton and Big Machine Label Group trio Rascal Flatts.
“I swear if you are listening, you can hear the Country Music Hall of Fame working on the plaques in the rotunda for those guys,” Molinar said. “It’s not time yet, but one day…”
“Yours If You Want It” is the 10th No. 1 for Big Machine Music. Big Machine Music presented Singleton with a plaque with the lyrics to the bridge of the song and has the real signatures from both Singleton and Dorff.
Big Machine Label Group founder and CEO Scott Borchetta also announced that Rascal Flatts has agreed to renew their contract with Big Machine. Borchetta shared that he brought the paperwork to the No. 1 party. “We’re going to renew our vows right here onstage at BMI,” Borchetta quipped.
“We knew we had something special,” said Rascal Flatts member Joe Don Rooney. “At that point we just wanted to do it justice. Jonathan and of course Andrew, his legacy will live on through this song. We are so humbled by this. You go 17 No. 1 songs, and go, ‘wow.’ It feels like just yesterday that we were moving to town.”
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a single that we wanted so badly to go No. 1,” said fellow Flatts member Gary LeVox. “and not for us and not to try to sell tickets. We’ve never wanted a No. 1 so badly and we would go do anything in the world it took to get it to No. 1, for you and for Andrew. It meant the world to us to be able to cut it.”
Big Machine Music commissioned gray shirts emblazoned with Dorff’s photo and “Yours If You Want It.” It was noted that merchandiser Richards & Southern made a run of shirts for the party in only three days and donated the shirts.
Among those in attendance at the No. 1 party were Andrew’s father, legendary songwriter Stephen “Steve” Dorff, Sr., and Andrew’s brother, actor Stephen Dorff.
“Thank you for being here. Andrew loved this town and loved everybody here. Loved Jonathan,” Stephen “Steve” Dorff addressed the crowd. “I just want to thank BMI, Big Machine Records and your whole staff for bringing this all the way home and Rascal Flatts for making an absolutely perfect record. Thank you.”
First Tennessee Bank and Pinnacle Bank were also on hand to celebrate the song’s accomplishments.
“You may have had ‘Bless The Broken Road’ and ‘My Wish’ that touched people globally,” summed Molinar, telling the trio, “but this song was for us, for this Music Row community.”
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