May 19 2011

Hal David To Receive Visionary Leadership Award - “It Was A Very Good Year” For The Towering Song

New York, NY – May 19, 2011— Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman Jimmy Webb announced today that SHOF Chairman Emeritus Hal David will be awarded the first ever Visionary Leadership Award at the 42nd Annual Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 16th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.  The 2011 Towering Song will be presented to “It Was A Very Good Year” by composer and lyricist Ervin Drake who will accept the award.

David is the first recipient of the Visionary Leadership Award for his outstanding 10 years of service as the organization’s Chairman and CEO.

“Under Hal David’s leadership, the Songwriters Hall of Fame became one of the music industry’s most respected and widely-supported organizations. Hal’s unique combination of creative sensibility and business acumen sparked a far-reaching renewal of the Hall of Fame’s mission and achievements, garnering unprecedented recognition from all sectors of the industry.” said current SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. 

During his 10 years of service as Chairman/CEO, the SHOF’s Virtual Museum ( developed into the industry’s most authoritative website on songwriters and songwriting, becoming a comprehensive research tool with over 250,000 records of data and over 10,000 pages of content that includes photos, discographies, audio clips and more.  He also led the successful effort in establishing the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, the first brick and mortar home for the organization. With David at the helm, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala has become one of the most anticipated events on the music industry calendar.  David was also integral in creating resources for new songwriting talent as well as music industry professionals with workshops, scholarships and educational programs and events such as the “Master Class” series.

Along with his extraordinary service to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, David is a legendary and Academy Award winning lyricist.  He was inducted into the SHOF in 1972, was honored with the Johnny Mercer Award in 1996 and the Towering Song Award for his iconic song “What The World Needs Now” in 2004.  He has had 40 top 10 songs, and has received numerous awards and accolades such as the NARM Presidential Award, the B’Nai B’rith Creative Achievement Award and the prestigious Grammy Trustees Award by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

David currently serves as a member of the Board of Governors of Cedars Sinai Medical Center, as well as the Board of Directors of ASCAP, having formerly served as its President.

Established in 2011, the Visionary Leadership Award acknowledges a Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman, Board of Director or Officer who has made significant contributions in order to further the mission of the organization and elevate it to a new level of prominence and distinction.

The 2011 Towering Song, Ervin Drake’s “It Was A Very Good Year,” was originally recorded by Bob Shane of The Kingston Trio in 1961, but it was Frank Sinatra’s rendition in 1965 that made the song legendary with his Grammy® Award winning version in D-minor.  Sinatra’s version of the song, which won Best Vocal Performance, Male, also took home the Grammy® for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist by Gordon Jenkins. The song became Sinatra’s first number one single on The Adult Contemporary chart and reached number 28 on The Billboard Hot 100.  “It Was A Very Good Year” appeared on Sinatra’s 1965 album September Of My Years and again on his Sinatra At The Sands live album in 1966. 

“It Was A Very Good Year” has been recorded by many artists such as Don McLean, Richie Havens, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Lou Rawls, Eartha Kitt, The Flaming Lips, Robbie Williams and Ray Charles as a duet with Willie Nelson.  Most recently, in 2011, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister recorded a version of the song for the album SIN-atra, a heavy metal cover album of Frank Sinatra songs.  “It Was A Very Good Year” also appeared on the 78th episode of The Muppet Show, was featured in the 1991 Spike Lee film Jungle Fever and was used as the opening song in the second season premiere of HBO’s The Sopranos.

The Towering Song Award is presented each year to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years. Previous Towering Songs have included “Moon River,” “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” “Unchained Melody,” “When The Saints Go Marching In,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Inductees at this year’s Songwriters Hall of Fame event include John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint.  The prestigious Johnny Mercer Award will be presented to Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Drake will receive the celebrated Hal David Starlight Award.  Chaka Khan will receive the esteemed Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award.

About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. There are fewer than 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The list includes Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, Albert Hammond, Desmond Child, Paul Williams, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Richard and Robert Sherman, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Curtis Mayfield, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren and Leonard Cohen among many others.

Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Virtual Museum at

Join us! Our mission is to remember and honor our great songwriters while building our musical future through workshops, showcases and scholarships, along with the opportunity to vote for the next slate of inductees. Joining online is quick and easy:

Ticket Information:
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,000 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.

Fran Curtis
Rogers & Cowan

Lauren Wilsman
Rogers & Cowan