Elvis Songwriter Mac Davis Honored By BMI

Songwriter Mac Davis, who wrote the Elvis Presley classic “In the Ghetto,” was honored at the BMI Country Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday with tributes from Luke Bryan and Little Big Town.

Davis was given the BMI Icon award for penning five decades of hits in the pop and country worlds including “Memories,” ‘‘A Little Less Conversation,” and “Texas in my Rearview Mirror.”

Photo: Wade Payne/Invision/AP
With his wife Lise Kristen Gerard at the 63rd Annual BMI Country Awards in Nashville, Tenn.

The Lubbock, Texas-native was also a film and stage actor, TV and radio personality and had a solo career as a singer. Davis said he was in awe of Elvis’ personality and thanked him for helping him as a songwriter and later as an artist.

“I watched him when he first came to Lubbock, Texas, and he stood on the back of a flatbed truck and the girls were just screaming and yelling and climbing up and trying to get to him,” Davis told the crowd of songwriters, artists and music industry representatives. “And I said, ‘Man, I want to do that.’“

Rascal Flatts performed Davis’ song “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” while the four-part vocal group Little Big Town performed the softly poignant “In the Ghetto.”

“I also want to know how you wrote a lyric that tells a woman to shut her mouth,” Bryan joked before breaking into his best Elvis impression of “A Little Less Conversation.”

Rodney Clawson was named songwriter of the year for his writing credits on seven top country songs, including Kenny Chesney’s “American Kids,” and Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender.”

“Beat of the Music,” performed and co-written by Brett Eldredge, was named the song of the year.