The big-print names on the charts might be 'NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion, but when Swedish composers Max Martin and Andreas Carlsson each took home a piece of the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award, it was a reminder that it's both the singer and the song that makes for a hit.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers held its 18th annual ASCAP Pop Awards Tuesday in Los Angeles, where other big winners were Savage Garden, Tom Waits and Modest Mouse.
Martin penned the Backstreet Boys' smash "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" while Carlsson wrote 'NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye." Together, the two were responsible for the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," 'NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me" and Dion's "That's the Way It Is." ASCAP honored Savage Garden's Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones with Song of the Year for their "I Knew I Loved You," which is #14 on the Billboard adult contemporary singles chart.
Waits, whose almost 30-year career has seen him mutate from grizzled blues-jazz singer to avant-garde rocker and theatrical composer, received ASCAP's Founders Award for his body of work. On Waits' latest disc, 1999's Mule Variations, he collaborated with his wife, Kathleen Brennan, on an album of twisted lyrics and sonic experimentation.
Waits and Savage Garden performed at the Beverly Hilton Hotel event, along with the Goo Goo Dolls and Holly Lamar, who co-wrote Faith Hill's #1 hit "Breathe." Lamar's collaborator, Stephanie Bentley, took home Song of the Year honors at last week's BMI Pop Awards, handed out by rival songwriters' organization BMI (see "Grohl, Stapp, Sting Take Home BMI Honors"). Modest Mouse picked up the College Radio Award for the ASCAP artist whose body of work collectively garnered the most college radio airplay. The group released Building Nothing Out of Something in 2000, and dropped the rarities collection Sad Sappy Sucker in April (see "Modest Mouse Rarities Surfacing").