Musician-songwriter-actor Tom Waits was awarded the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' prestigious Founders Award Tuesday, at the 18th Annual ASCAP Pop Awards in Los Angeles. Previous Founders Award recipients include Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Dylan.
After a videotaped introduction by The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, 51-year-old Waits performed a short, four-song set — including "Picture in a Frame" from Mule Variations and "Cemetery Polka" from Rain Dogs — for the crowd of more than 600 industry bigwigs at a black-tie dinner at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
"[Waits'] inimitable style of storytelling has shaped the sensibilities of countless other songwriters," noted ASAP President and Chairman Marilyn Bergman. "His is a truly rich musical legacy that will enrich generations to come."
Actor Nicholas Cage, who presented the award with Bergman, called Waits "one of the greatest blues voices since Howlin' Wolf" and "one of the greatest word men of our time."
Max Martin and Andreas Carlsson shared ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honors. Martin is responsible for writing the Backstreet Boys' "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," and Carlson inked 'N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye." As a team, the duo wrote 'N Sync's "It's Gonna Be Me," Celine Dion's "That's The Way It Is," and BSB's "I Want It That Way." Both composers are Swedish but license their music through ASCAP in the States.
Other performers at the event included the Goo Goo Dolls; Holly Lamar, author of Faith Hill's smash "Breathe"; and Savage Garden. The Australian duo also received Song of the Year honors for their hit "I Knew I Loved You."