Roots guitarist John Butler made history when he won song of the year at the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) music awards, held Monday in Melbourne. He became the first self-publishe

Roots guitarist John Butler made history when he won song of the year at the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) music awards, held Monday in Melbourne. He became the first self-published songwriter without major-label backing to take the top honor.

Butler's winning song "Zebra", a top 10 domestic crossover hit, is taken from John Butler Trio's "Sunrise Over Sea" album. The album is issued through the Jarrah label which Butler runs with folk rock trio the Waifs. Coincidentally, "Sunrise Over Sea" was yesterday certified double platinum (sales of 140,000) by the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA).

Also during the APRA awards, Bernard Fanning, Jon Coghill, Ian Haug, Darren Middleton and John Collins of Festival Music-published rock band Powderfinger collected the songwriter of the year honor. Members of celebrated '70s band the Sports-- Stephen Cummings, Martin Armiger and Andrew Pendlebury--reunited to perform at the gala.

Delta Goodrem, who led all artistswith four nominations, won the breakthrough award.

The association's board chose to honor jazz musician Don Burrows with the Ted Albert Award for outstanding services to Australian music.

Other winners included Amiel, most performed Australian song for "Lovesong" (Festival Music Publishing); Disco Montego, most performed dance work for "U Talkin To Me" (Bomb Music Publishing); Sharny Russell, most performed jazz work for "If You Love Me" (ABC Music Publishing); Carter and Carter, most performed country work for "Lead Me Home" (independently published); and Joni Mitchell for most performed work, Counting Crows' version of "Big Yellow Taxi" (Sony/ATV Music Publishing). Nominations in six categories are voted on by 14,000 APRA members.

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