Country singers Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson were among the stars inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on Sunday (16Oct11).
Brooks beamed with pride as his manager and producer handed him the accolade and he name checked all of his country icons, including Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton, during his acceptance speech.
He said, "The greatest award a guy can receive is being called a songwriter. I never dreamed that life could be this good."
Jackson, who turned 53 the day after the ceremony, was hailed as a "giant in country music" by Mike Dungan, the head of Capitol Records' Nashville division, and music duo The Wrights performed a medley of the star's hits in his honour.
John Bettis, Thom Schuyler and Allen Shamblin also received the top prize during the star-studded ceremony at the Renaissance Hotel, while relative newcomer Taylor Swift walked away with two trophies - Songwriter and Artist of the Year.
The Love Story hitmaker admits she felt honoured to be recognised at the same event as her idols, telling the crowd, "Just the fact that the people in this room were all standing up for me is just overwhelming. You all are all my heroes, I'm going to go out there and keep trying to not mess this up."
Swift sang Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning) and Jackson heaped praise on the blonde beauty, declaring, "That was the prettiest version I've ever heard. I knew she was going to be big, but I didn't know she'd be that big."