The Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) honored Guess Who's Burton Cummings, Chilliwack's Bill Henderson, Theory of a Deadman and Karl Wolf at the 21st annual SOCAN Awards.

Hosted in three separate segments by Hawksley Workman, Kardinal Offishall and Suzie McNeil, the ceremony at Toronto's John Bassett Theatre began with milestone SOCAN classic awards for songs that achieved the 100,000-airplay mark on domestic radio, which went to Cummings; Gary & Dave; Henderson and Kim Mitchell. Sarah McLachlan and Edward Bear's Larry Evoy were not in attendance for their awards.

At an earlier press conference, Guess Who's Burton Cummings said, "Of all the awards, the songwriting awards, to me, that's the deal. Anybody can get up and sing; for me, the writing of them was the tough part. Singing was the easy part. The writing of them is the tough part - and if you have nothing to sing, there's no anything."

The international achievement award was handed to Brian Howes, whose songwriting accolades include Hinder, Daughtry, Hedley and David Cook. The lifetime achievement award went to "Hair" composer Galt MacDermot; the national achievement award to folk/rock band Spirit of the West; and special achievement to pianist Tommy Banks.

While some of the recipients were not in town for the gala, pop/rock music awards for songwriters with the greatest number of performances on domestic radio during 2009 went to the New Cities for "Dead End Countdown," Nickelback for "Gotta Be Somebody" and "If Today Was Your Last Day;" and Theory of a Deadman for "Not Meant To Be."

Country music awards for the same radio-play achievement were bestowed on George Canyon for "Just Like You," Doc Walker for "One Last Sundown," Johnny Reid for "A Woman Like You," and Road Hammers for "Homegrown.

The urban music award went to Karl Wolf for "Africa," his reworking of the Toto classic; the Hagood Hardy jazz music award went to Don Thompson; and the Jan V. Matejcek new classical music award to Stephen Chatman.

The Folk/Roots music award for the songwriter(s) whose current repertoire of creative works achieved the greatest number of performances in domestic radio, pay audio and concerts during 2009 went to Celtic-folk group Great Big Sea.

The international song award for the SOCAN song with the highest international earnings in 2009 went to Nickelback's "Gotta Be Somebody." The band was not in attendance.

Other awards were given out in the areas of film and television music; news and sports programming music; and specialty TV programming music.