The legendary Willie Nelson will be honored as a "BMI Icon" at the performing right organization's 55th annual Country Awards this fall. The invitation-only gala, which will recognize the past year's most performed BMI country songs, is set for Nov. 6 at the company's Music Row offices.

The "Icon" designation is given to BMI songwriters and artists who have had "a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers," according to the organization. Nelson, who will be saluted with an all-star musical tribute, joins past honorees Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Whisperin' Bill Anderson, Charlie Daniels, Loretta Lynn, as well as James Brown, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Steve Winwood, among others.

Hosted by BMI president/CEO Del Bryant and Nashville writer/publisher VP Jody Williams, the awards will recognize the songwriters and publishers of the top BMI country songs played on American radio and television during the previous year.

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