New York, N.Y. - June 14, 2013 – The 2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame 44th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner was a sparkling success, as SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb and President/CEO Linda Moran recognized and celebrated some of the best songwriting legends of our time. Last night, icons Tony Hatch, Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, Holly Knight, JD Souther, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Honored with special awards were Elton John and Bernie Taupin who were presented with the Johnny Mercer Award; Benny Blanco, who received the Hal David Starlight Award; Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was honored with the Towering Song Award and the Pioneer Award was awarded to Berry Gordy.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame, year after year, is a night full of unforgettable moments celebrating the art of songwriting. The night kicked-off with a medley of Tony Hatch classics including, “My Love,” “Call Me,” “Forget Him,” “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” “I Know A Place,” and a powerful finale of “Downtown” performed by the-one-and-only Petula Clark. Patty Smyth, who sung “The Warrior,” inducted Holly Knight, who gave a stunning rendition of “Love Is A Battlefield.”
Lou Gramm and Mick Jones, who were inducted by Billy Joel, performed two of their hits together for the first time in more than a decade, “Juke Box Hero” and “I Want To Know What Love Is” with Anthony Morgan’s Inspirational Choir of Harlem – a performance that brought the entire audience to its feet.
SHOF Chairman Emeritus, Hal David, who passed in 2012 was remembered with a moving performance of “Anyone Who Had a Heart” by the soulful Sheléa. The evening also paid tribute to legendary producer and member of the SHOF family, Phil Ramone with a star-studded memorial video featuring Tony Bennett, Kevin Spacey, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey.
This year’s Hal David Starlight Award, which is presented to young songwriters who are making a significant impact in the music industry with their original songs, was presented to Benny Blanco by Rob Thomas, who was the first artist to receive this accolade in 2004. Benny Blanco, who lamented “songwriting is about being yourself” was humbled to be amongst such incredible storytellers. Wiz Khalifa took the stage for his hit-single, “Work Hard, Play Hard,” penned by Blanco.
The 2013 Towering Song Award, presented to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years, was presented to Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Nicole Cooke Johnson, his granddaughter, proudly accepted this honor on behalf of the family. Jordin Sparks’ moving performance of this historical anthem ended with an impromptu “thank you” in recognition of the incredibly beautiful relationship between songwriters and performers.
JD Souther paid a vivid tribute to the wide array of artists he has collaborated with and has been influenced by throughout his career, proclaiming he has “the best job in the world.” Allison Krauss, who inducted Souther gave a stunning performance of “Faithless Love.”
Inductees Steven Tyler and Joe Perry rocked the house with “Walk This Way” to a dancing audience and shared that this award means “everything” to them. Chad Kroeger and Ryan Peake paid tribute to the duo with an energetic performance of “Sweet Emotion.”
Smokey Robinson reminisced on first meeting to becoming best friends with the legendary Berry Gordy who was honored with the Pioneer Award, which honors the career of a historic creator of an extensive body of musical work that has been a major influence on generations of songwriters. The electrifying cast of Gordy’s critically acclaimed new musical MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL, closed the evening with a powerful medley from his catalog of hits, including “Get Ready,” “I Can’t Help Myself,” and “Dancing In The Street,” among others.
The 44th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner was an unforgettable evening celebrating outstanding songwriters in the music industry and filled with incredible performances to remember. For those lucky to attend, it was a night one will never forget.