ASCAP Taps Tom Petty for Founders Award

Sam Jones

The rock veteran will be honored at the 31st Annual Pop Music Awards on April 23 in L.A.

Tom Petty's gotta have it … the ASCAP Founder's Award, that is.

The veteran rocker will be honored with the organization's prestigious Founders Award at its 31 st annual Pop Music Awards, an invitation-only gala that will take place April 23 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles.

The announcement was made by president-chairman Paul Williams. The event will also award the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP's most performed pop songs of last year.

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Said Williams: "Tom is the very definition of an American music icon. Not only is he one of the most admired and beloved songwriters of our time, his music continues to be a major influence and inspiration to new generations of songwriters today.

"He has earned music's highest honors -- Grammys, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the distinction of being one of the best-selling artists of all time. And now, we are proud to present him with our most prestigious award of all, the ASCAP Founders Award."

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Previous winners include Ashford & Simpson, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Smokey Robinson, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Waits, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers emerged in the late '70s with such indelible songs as "Breakdown," "American Girl," "I Need to Know," "Free Fallin'," "Don't Do Me Like That," "Refugee" and "The Waiting," among many others, with sales of 60 million worldwide. His other projects include solo albums, The Traveling Wilburys (with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and George Harrison), music in films and various collaborations.

As previously announced, Grammy Award-winning band fun. will receive the ASCAP Vanguard Award, which recognizes the impact of musical genres that help shape the future of American music.