Like an old friend who occasionally drops in, as so many good songs do, I heard "Hundred Pounds of Clay" at the Kentucky Kingdom Theme Park dinner sponsored by Naval Ordnance this past month. Fortunately, writers Ed Snyder and the late Burt Kaempfert's family still receive a few hundred dollars in checks each year, according to Ed, who proudly showed me one of his royalty statements after a songwriting showcase a few months ago in Daytona, Florida. Thanks to the tedious work of the performing rights organizations BMI and ASCAP in monitoring performances in the broadcasting industry worldwide.
The two organizations have not always existed in harmony, but they are more tolerant of each other's existence today. Ed said, "I had to sign as an alias, K. Rodgers, 'because at the time BMI and ASCAP didn't allow of another organization to co-write. I was with BMI and Burt was with ASCAP."
This great writing team also wrote "Strangers in the Night" and "Spanish Eyes," among others and were no doubt one of the first black/white writing teams.
The newest performing rights organization, SESAC, will perhaps create even more competition, but it is evident that the songwriter is dependent on these invaluable friends in the music industry. They've made it possible for families such as the Snyders and Kaempferts to support their families in the profession they've chosen; otherwise we may have missed out on theirs and other writers' great songs that occasionally drop in for our listening pleasure.