Patti Smith thanked officials at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers when she picked up a special award on Wednesday (21Apr10) - insisting their royalty cheques helped her through tough times.
The Because The Night singer was presented with the lifetime achievement honour at the 27th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles, and revealed the cash she receives in royalties helped her raise her two young kids after her husband Fred 'Sonic' Smith's death in 1994.
She told the assembled audience, "I was actually down on my luck. And what helped bail me out and helped me get back to my feet were the ASCAP cheques that I got for Because the Night.
"I just thought you did your record and that was it. And the first time I got these cheques, I said, 'I already got paid for that song.' So I'm grateful in good times, and I was very grateful in hard times."
Other winners at the awards included The Killers, who were honoured for their contribution to the industry, while Dr Luke, who has penned hits for Katy Perry, Flo Rida and Miley Cyrus, was named songwriter of the year.
Singer Jason Mraz won the song of the year trophy for his smash single I'm Yours, which holds the record for most weeks in the U.S. charts.
Record giant EMI Music was named publisher of the year, after a stellar 2009 which saw the release of 15 award-winning songs.