Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame honors those whose work represents a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the world’s popular music songbook. Songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond who founded the organization wanted to shine the spotlight on the accomplishments of songwriters who have provided us with the words and music that form the soundtrack of our lives. Each year the Hall of Fame inducts a slate of songwriters voted on by the membership at an Awards Gala that has been recognized by the music industry and the media as the most important of the year. In this digital age, the Hall of Fame has put together an award-winning online museum to honor songwriters who have been inducted. This has become a leading destination for music industry professionals and researchers, along with popular music fans.
Out of the tens of thousands of songwriters of our era, there are approximately 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame. A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song. The list of inductees include Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier & Brian Holland, Smokey Robinson, Paul Williams, Hal David & Burt Bacharach, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes & David Porter, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Don Schlitz, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Diane Warren, Carole Bayer Sager, Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, Mac Davis, Leonard Cohen, Ray Davies, Cyndi Lauper, Desmond Child, Mick Jones & Lou Gramm, Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards, Lionel Richie, Bill Withers, Neil Diamond, Jay Z, Tom Petty, Toby Keith, Max Martin, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Berry Gordy, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Robert Lamm & James Pankow, Bill Anderson, Steve Dorff, Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson, Kool & The Gang, John Mellencamp and Allee Willis, among many others.
The Hall of Fame not only celebrates these established songwriters, but is also devoted to the development and nurturing of new songwriting talent. In efforts to enhance support of the up-and-coming songwriter, the Hall of Fame has forged important partnerships on both coasts. Educational activities are held at the University of Southern California/Thornton School of Music, with additional events and programs at NYC’s Stuyvesant High School, the University of North Carolina and Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business. The result has been greater outreach with an expanded scholarship program, and the launch of a special series of events called the Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Sessions, with a focus on the art and craft of songwriting. The series features one major figure from music and the music industry in each session, many of whom are SHOF inductees.
In 2010, the Songwriters Hall of Fame found its first physical home within the Los Angeles GRAMMY Museum. This SHOF collaboration has led to several co-sponsored events on the West Coast, some of which include the acclaimed Legends-In-The-Round series, each featuring a stellar gathering of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees discussing their careers and performing their songs. Other events include special movie screenings combined with panel discussions, and much more. A partnership agreement was recently formalized with the GRAMMY Museum Foundation, Inc., to develop a peripatetic (traveling) museum, “Songwriters Hall of Fame Songwriter Experience Museum.” The inaugural exhibit is pending due to the current COVID pandemic.
Another celebrated event for the past number of years has been our annual Conversation with Oscar®-Nominated Songwriters. Film clips of all of that years nominated songs begin each program followed by an insightful dialog among the writers who outline their process of songwriting and working with each filmmaker.
The Hall of Fame has specifically concentrated on digital initiatives, serving to combine an array of innovative features and a wealth of informational content. A full list of our esteemed inductees with over 250,000 records of data and over 10,000 pages of content that include biographies, discographies, audio clips and photo galleries profiling their lives and their works can be accessed there. Songhall.org is also geared toward our membership and enhancing communications with the songwriting community.
The Hall of Fame has taken great pride in laying the groundwork for the process of building a community with resources to assist our members in all aspects of the art and business of songwriting. This has become the premier go-to songwriter organization, whether it’s to research history or plan the future.
Join us! Our mission is to remember, honor and nurture one of the world’s greatest resources: the songwriter.