New York, N.Y.- June 18, 2010- The 2010 Songwriters Hall of Fame 41st Anniversary Awards show was a sparkling success, as SHOF Chairman/CEO Hal David and President Linda Moran recognized and celebrated some of the key songwriting legends of our time. Last night, icons such as Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster, Johnny Mandel and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn and Al McKay were inducted into the hall of fame. Honored with special awards were Phil Collins who was presented the Johnny Mercer Award; Taylor Swift, who received the Hal David Starlight Award; the legendary Phil Ramone received the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award; Paul Simon who was presented the Towering Song Award for “Bridge Over Troubled Water;” and Keith Mardak received the Abe Olman Publisher Award. Also honored were posthumous inductees Tom Adair and Matt Dennis, Bob Marley, Laura Nyro, Sunny Skylar and Jesse Stone.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame, year after year, is a night full of remarkable memories with music’s greatest. Some of these not-to-be-missed moments included Judy Collins’ gorgeous solo performance of “Suzanne” followed by kd Lang moving rendition of “Hallelujah.” David Foster provided piano accompaniment for the young and incredibly talented Charice for his hit “I Have Nothing.” Phil Collins and Philip Bailey’s duet of “Easy Lover” brought the audience to its feet. Taylor Swift played acoustic guitar to “White Horse” after accepting the Hal David Starlight Award and capping off this memorable night was Earth, Wind & Fire’s performance of “September.”
The Johnny Mercer Award, which is the highest honor from the Songwriters Hall of Fame as only previous inductees can be eligible, was presented to Phil Collins. Best known for his work as drummer and vocalist for the British rock group Genesis and as a solo artist, Phil Collins has created some of popular music’s greatest hits, including “In the Air Tonight,” “Against All Odds” and “Another Day In Paradise,” and such energetic hits as “Sussudio,” “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Two Hearts.” Phil Collins was presented his award by the wonderful Bruce Hornsby, who performed in his honor.
This year’s Hal David Starlight Award, given to gifted songwriters who are making significant impact in the music industry via their original songs, was presented to Taylor Swift by John Mayer, who previously won this award. Swift accepted the award by thanking those who have supported her since the young age of 14 and explaining that her songwriting capabilities come from her inability to speak her true feelings face-to-face. Swift joked that often people in her life don’t find out she loved them until months after when hearing one of her songs.
The legendary Phil Ramone was this year’s recipient of the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award, which was presented by the renowned Billy Joel in a hilarious presentation speech at the paino. Joel eliquantly narrated stories about Ramone’s ability to hear the missing element in a song and to make them runaway hits. Ramone is one of music’s well-respected producers with 34 GRAMMY nominations, 14 GRAMMY Awards, an Emmy and numerous awards and honors to his credit. Working with a variety of musicians from country to pop stars, Ramone created some of today’s best hit songs, such as: Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It,” “Uptown Girl” and “Modern Woman,” “Late In The Evening” (Paul Simon), “Too Late for Goodbyes” (Julian Lennon) and many more. He has worked with many notable artists including Bono, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Quincy Jones, BB King, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor to name a few.
This year’s Towering Song Award for “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was presented to Paul Simon who wrote the song in 1969 and recorded it in 1970. “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” with a powerful performance by Broadway great Brian Stokes Mitchell last night, was honored as one of the most enduring songs from the past four decades. It won the GRAMMY Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1971. It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 28, 1970 and stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks. Following these prestigious awards, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was re-recorded and performed by many iconic musicians such as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and many more.
Keith Mardak, Chairman/CEO of the Hal Leonard Corporation, was the recipient of the Abe Olman Publisher’s Award. The Hal Leonard Corporation has experienced a dramatic annual expansion since its beginning, especially with the 1985 purchase Mardak headed by an internal management group. The Hal Leonard Corporation currently is the world’s largest music print publisher with a catalog consisting of over 200,000 publications, covering a broad spectrum of printed music. NMPA Chairman Erwin Robinson remarks, “Keith Mardak has long been immensely respected as an innovative publisher, keeping the important tradition and art of printed music alive, while making it sustainable and viable with today’s new technologies.”
At this year’s Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards Gala, Paul Shaffer and Elizabeth Withers remembered songwriters who have passed before us by performing a medley of songs. These legendary songwriters include Tom Adair and Matt Dennis, Bob Marley, Laura Nyro, Sunny Skylar and Jesse Stone.
The 41st Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards Gala was truly a spectacular evening with incredible performances to remember to all celebrate outstanding songwriters in the music industry. For those lucky to attend, it was a night one will never forget.