Metallica, Nelly, 50 Cent also honored.

Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jackson Browne took home the highest honor of the evening during ASCAP's 21st annual Pop Awards, held last night (May 18) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

ASCAP president/chairman Marilyn Bergman presented Browne with the organization's Founders Award in recognition of the singer/songwriter's contributions to the music industry.

Besides the top-10 singles "Doctor My Eyes" and "Somebody's Baby," Browne has written and recorded such hits as "Running on Empty," "Lawyers in Love" and "Tender Is the Night." His songs have been recorded by the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, Gregg Allman, Tom Rush and Nico, among others.

Hip-hop artist Nelly was recognized for the second year in a row, as his "Shake Ya Tailfeather," "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma" put him in a tie for songwriter of the year. Multi-platinum rapper 50 Cent also received nods in the category for "In Da Club," "Magic Stick" and "21 Questions," while Matrix songwriter/producer Graham Edwards was honored for "Complicated," "I'm With You" and "The Remedy."

Song of the year honors went to songwriter/producer Rick Nowels for "The Game of Love."

Hard-rock icons Metallica received the organization's inaugural Creative Voice Award. Mars Volta took home the College Vanguard Award for impact and popularity at college radio.

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento presented EMI Music Publishing with the publisher of the year award.

Awards were presented to the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed songs throughout the survey year, spanning Oct. 1, 2002, to Sept. 30, 2003.