2006 SHOF Inductees Announced
Thom Bell, Mac Davis, Will Jennings, Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year, SHOF Chairman/CEO Hal David announced in a statement today. The organization, which is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of those composers and lyricists who create popular music around the world, returns for its highly anticipated 37th annual induction and awards dinner, scheduled for Thursday, June 15 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Special award honorees will be announced at a later date.
“This year the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame honors songwriters whose work represents a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the contemporary American songbook. From the songwriters who created the signature sound of ‘Philly Soul,’ to the Motown music phenomenon, to some of Elvis’s most memorable hits and country music standards, to internationally successful pop stylings and Oscar-winning anthems,” commented David. “The impact of our event continues to grow and has become one of the most important dates of the year for the music and entertainment industry. It is truly special because we put the spotlight on the accomplishments of those who have provided us with the words and music that form the soundtrack of our lives.”
From his groundbreaking ‘60s productions with the Delfonics to his acclaimed ‘70s work with the Spinners, the O’Jays and the Stylistics, Thom Bell’s elegant r&b songs and arrangements have retained their champagne effervescence and timeless appeal. Combining urban melodies with semi-classical styling, Bell ranks as one of pop music’s most sophisticated composers. Considered a principal architect of the influential “Philly Soul” sound, he co-wrote the Stylistics’ most memorable hits, including “Stop, Look and Listen,” “You Are Everything,” “Betcha By Golly Wow,” “Break Up To Make Up” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New.” Bell was similarly instrumental in the success of the Spinners, co-composing such hits as “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” “One of a Kind Love Affair,” “Mighty Love” and “Rubberband Man,” as well as the Spinners/Dionne Warwick duet “Then Came You.” Bell also arranged O’Jays classics like “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train” and “For the Love of Money.” The two-time Grammy winner has received numerous BMI Pop, R&B and Million Performance awards, and has also been twice honored by Billboard with their Number One Producer award. Even Madison Avenue has acknowledged the mesmerizing power of Thom Bell’s music. His composition “I’ll Be Around” has been selected as the theme for the multi-million dollar Chevrolet advertising campaign.
Mac Davis has a track record as one of America’s most popular entertainers, a countrypolitan-styled singer and actor who found considerable success in both fields. In 1965, he began composing his own songs, with Glen Campbell, Bobby Goldsboro, Lou Rawls, and Kenny Rogers & the First Edition among the artists recording his work. In 1968, Elvis Presley recorded Davis’ “A Little Less Conversation,” the theme song for the current television hit Las Vegas. After notching a Top 40 hit with Davis’s “Memories,” Presley reached the Top Five in 1969 with the songwriter’s “In the Ghetto.” Davis also arranged the music for Presley‘s first television special before signing his own recording contract in 1970. In that year, he released his first chart single, “Whoever Finds This, I Love You,” from his debut album, Song Painter. In 1972, Davis scored a number one pop hit with “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” which also reached the country Top 20. His crossover success continued throughout the decade, with singles like 1974’s “Stop and Smell the Roses,” 1975’s “Burnin’ Thing,” and the following year’s “Forever Lovers” scoring with listeners in both camps. Davis’s success continued in the early ’80s: “It’s Hard to Be Humble,” the title track of his 1980 album, was the first of four consecutive Top Ten country hits that culminated with his biggest country single, “Hooked on Music,” the next year. In 1990, Davis co-authored Dolly Parton‘s hit “White Limozeen”; that same year, he also took over the title role in the Broadway hit The Will Rogers Follies. Will Write Songs for Food, his first LP in nearly a decade, appeared in 1994.
Grammy- and Academy Award-winning songwriter Will Jennings began his Hollywood career with 1976’s The Commitment, soon after teaming with composer Richard Kerr to author Barry Manilow’s 1977 pop chart-topper “Looks Like We Made It”; two years later, Manilow returned to the Top Ten with the duo’s “Somewhere in the Night.” After earning his first Academy Award nomination for the song “People Alone” from 1980’s The Competition, Jennings collaborated with Steve Winwood for several songs on the singer’s acclaimed 1981 album Arc of a Diver; they reunited the following year for Talking Back to the Night, which generated the hit “Valerie.” In tandem with Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jennings next scored his first Oscar for “Up Where We Belong,” the Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warren blockbuster from the film An Officer and a Gentlemen; after working with Jimmy Buffett on 1984’s Riddles in the Sand and its follow-up Last Mango in Paris, he reunited with Winwood for 1986’s enormously popular Back in the High Life, earning a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year for the number one smash “Higher Love.” In 1991, Jennings paired with Eric Clapton for the cathartic “Tears in Heaven,” culled from the motion picture Rush. His biggest song, however, remains 1997’s Titanic theme “My Heart Will Go On”; written with composer James Horner and sung by Celine Dion, the song earned many Oscars, Grammys, and Golden Globes on its way to becoming one of the most-played radio hits in history.
Sylvia Moy’s place in Motown history is mainly behind the scenes as a writer and producer. Moy grew up on the northeast side of Detroit with her eight brothers and sisters, performing on pots and pans to keep themselves busy and musical. Once she reached school, she played jazz and classical, but found her true calling in the seminal R&B sounds of Hitsville USA. There, Moy was part of the creative team that wrote such classics as “My Cherie Amour” for Stevie Wonder and “It Takes Two” for Marvin Gaye. She was the first female to have the title of “record producer” at the label, and was one of the busiest and well-known songwriters of the time. Moy went on to write the theme songs for many television shows like Blossom, The Wonder Years, and Growing Pains. She was also involved with the theme music for the movies It Takes Two, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Dead Presidents. Moy has earned six Grammy nominations, 20 BMI awards, and a place in the National Songwriters Hall of Fame. She made a solid investment in the future of the arts when she co-founded the Center for Creative Communications, also known as “Masterworks,” which trains young adults in the field of telecommunications and media arts.
Hank Cosby was not only an exemplary saxophonist who played with the earliest incarnation of Motown’s legendary studio group, the Funk Brothers, but he also co-wrote such enduring classics as Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “Tears of a Clown.” In addition to his instrumental contributions, Cosby quickly proved himself a gifted songwriter and producer. In 1962 he teamed with 11-year-old Little Stevie Wonder to author “Fingertips,” and a subsequent live recording cut at Detroit’s famed Fox Theater launched the prodigy’s groundbreaking career. Cosby and Wonder teamed on a number of other hits in the years to follow, often in collaboration with Sylvia Moy. In addition to the aforementioned “Uptight,” their credits include “I Was Made to Love Her,” “My Cherie Amour,” and “Shoo Bee Doo Bee Da Day.” Cosby also worked in various capacities with the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Martha & the Vandellas, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and the Temptations prior to his exit from the offices of Motown in 1973, when the label relocated to Los Angeles. After a series of heart surgeries, he died January 22, 2002 at the age of 73.
The stars came out last year for the 36th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards event at the Marriott Marquis’ Grand Ballroom. Inductees Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Richard and Robert Sherman and Bill Withers and special award recipients Smokey Robinson (Johnny Mercer Award), Les Paul (The Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award), Alicia Keys (Starlight Award), Barry Mann, and Cynthia (Towering Song Award), Beebe Bourne (Abe Olman Publishers Award) and Henry Juszkiewicz (Patron of the Arts Award) mingled with presenters and performers Peabo Bryson, Ryan Cabrera, Faith Evans, Ricky Fante, Lalah Hathaway, Jimmy Jam And Terry Lewis, Jason Mraz, Angie Stone and Rob Thomas in a mutual admiration society of many outstanding moments.
About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. The NAPM/SHOF not only celebrates songwriters and educates the public on their great achievements, but is also devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. Over the course of the past 36 years, some key Songwriters’ Hall of Fame inductees have included John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Steve Cropper, Richard and Robert Sherman, Bill Withers, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison and Cy Coleman among many, many others.
Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Virtual Museum at http://www.songwritershalloffame.org.
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame begin at $850 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, (212) 573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go towards the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.