CMA Presents Inaugural J. William Denny Award To Its Namesake

CMA Presents Inaugural J. William Denny Award To Its Namesake

NASHVILLE – CMA presented the inaugural J. William Denny Award to its namesake Tuesday during the quarterly meeting of the CMA Board of Directors in Nashville.

“It’s been a pleasure to watch the Country Music Association grow to international prominence while keeping focused on its primary function of promoting Country Music,” said Bill Denny. “The music created by Nashville’s talented songwriters and musicians has brought global attention to ‘Music City’ and the CMA Board has always been a reservoir of bright, highly skilled and creative business people willing to spend their volunteer time to help the industry expand. I’m delighted to have this award named in my honor and I appreciate it very much.”

Denny was surprised with the news during a CMA retrospective discussion with Denny moderated by longtime CMA Board member Lon Helton

“It is doubtful we will ever see another CMA Board member with 55 years of service to this organization,” Helton said. “We are successful today thanks to the many contributions and decades of volunteer leadership Bill Denny has provided CMA. He is very deserving of this honor. ”

The Award is presented in recognition and appreciation of a lifetime of dedication, distinguished service, and meritorious contributions to the CMA Board of Directors. Denny joined the Board in 1961. He served as President in 1966 and Chairman in 1975 and has served on numerous committees. During his outstanding tenure, Denny contributed to the unprecedented growth of the organization, impacting the success of CMA’s many initiatives in the U.S. and abroad. He was named a lifetime Director in 1976.

The Board of Directors approved the creation of the J. William Denny Award in December. The Award can only be presented once a year and may be presented to a person who is living or deceased. All future recommendations for recipients of this honor should be submitted to the CMA Awards and Industry Relations department. All submissions will be evaluated by the Awards and Recognition Committee and then presented to the Board of Directors for discussion and/or approval. 

Denny retired as President of Nashville Gas in 1998. He served on the Board of the parent company, Tennessee Natural Gas Lines, Inc., from 1978 until it was acquired by Piedmont Natural Gas, Inc. in 1985, at which time he became Corporate Vice President for Tennessee for Piedmont Natural Gas, and remained Division President of Nashville Gas. Prior to that, he was President and Chairman of Cedarwood Music Publishing Co., Inc. from 1962 until 1983, and owner of Hatch Show Print. He is currently the owner of Denny Properties, a real estate investment firm.

In addition to serving on the CMA Board of Directors, he serves on the boards for the Salvation Army and the Country Music Foundation (the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum). Denny is no stranger to philanthropic and civic service, holding past board positions with Leadership Nashville, Leadership Music, Leadership Middle Tennessee, The Nashville Thermal Transfer Corp., The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Gas Association, The Southeastern Gas Association, The American Gas Association, The Copyright Society of the South, The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, The American Heart Association, Baptist Hospital, and Big Brothers. He is a founding board member of Brentwood Academy, and Crime Stoppers, and a past trustee of Brentwood United Methodist Church.

He has also served on the corporate board of Background America, Inc., Nashville Gas, Inc., Tennessee Natural Gas, Inc., Nashville Bank and Trust Co., Dominion Bank of Tennessee, First Union Bank of Tennessee, Inc., National Tape and Disc, Inc., and WJAT Radio, Inc.

Denny is a past chairman of the Country Music Foundation, the Los Angeles-based National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and the Salvation Army. He was an Associate Professor at Belmont College and taught in the Business School for six years. He is also a member and past president of the Chef’s Club of Nashville.

Denny majored in Economics and Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He is a licensed, private pilot; a Sunday school teacher; a business counselor with SCORE; and the founding host of television show “Score on Business.” He enjoys reading, traveling, computers, and spending time with his wife of 59 years, June. They have two sons, a daughter, three grandsons, and a granddaughter.

Founded in 1958, the Country Music Association was the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. More than 7,600 music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of CMA. The organization’s objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2016; CMA Music Festival, which benefits music education and is taped for a three-hour TV special; and “CMA Country Christmas,” featuring Country artists performing original music and Christmas classics. All of CMA’s television properties will air on the ABC Television Network through 2021. For more information, visit