New York, N.Y. - June 13, 2014 – The 2014 Songwriters Hall of Fame 45th 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 Ray Davies, Donovan, Graham Gouldman, Mark James and Jim Weatherly were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Honored with special awards were Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, who were presented with the Johnny Mercer Award; Dan Reynolds (of Imagine Dragons), who received the Hal David Starlight Award; Doug Morris received the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award; Del Bryant was presented with the Visionary Leadership Award; the 2014 Towering Song Award was awarded to “Over the Rainbow,” which was written by Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg, and published by EMI Feist Catalog, Inc.
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 moving celebration of the ASCAP Centennial, with a medley of decade-spanning hits, performed by the house band, including “Yesterday,” “Kashmir,” “Stir It Up,” “Purple Haze,” “Born In The USA,” “Superstition,” “Flashdance What A Feeling,” “Just The Way You Are,” “Little Red Corvette,” “With Or Without You,” and “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).”
The ASCAP award continued to be recognized by Aloe Blacc, who had the crowd clapping along with an energetic performance of “Wake Me Up” followed by an upbeat performance of “A Boy Like That” and “America” by Chita Rivera and a rocking version of “Let’s Twist Again” by Chubby Checker.
The Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award, named after one of the SHOF’s distinguished founders, is specifically tailored for an artist or "star maker" in the music industry who has been responsible for a substantial number of hit songs for an extended period, and most importantly, recognizes the genuine significance of the song and songwriter, and was presented to Doug Morris by good friend, Jimmy Iovine. Cam stunned the crowd with a rendition of “Burning House.”
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 Dan Reynolds (of Imagine Dragons) by Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman, Jimmy Webb. Dan then performed his smash hit, “Radioactive.”
Donovan, who received a standing ovation as he approached the stage, was inducted by Ralph Peer, who discovered the Scottish singer-songwriter in 1964. Donovan performed his chart-topping hits, “Sunshine Superman” and “Catch The Wind” with Rosanne Cash.
Candice Glover gave a striking performance of Jim Weatherly’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” before inducting the songwriter who then performed “Neither One of Us”. The songwriter and former college quarterback said he “never dreamed he would be inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.”
The exciting evening continued as A Great Big World sang Graham Gouldman’s “I’m Not In Love.” The band then inducted the singer-songwriter who said “it is an honor to receive such a prestigious and coveted award” before performing “Bus Stop.”
The 2014 Towering Song Award, presented to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years, was awarded to Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg’s “Over The Rainbow.” Pint-size powerhouse, Jackie Evancho performed the legendary hit and then presented the award to Marty Bandier.
Martina McBride inducted Mark James and gave a soulful performance of his number one hit “Suspicious Minds.” After thanking music legends such as Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson for recording his songs, Mark wowed audiences with a powerful medley of “Eyes Of A New York Woman,” “Always On My Mind” and “Hooked On A Feeling.”
The Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was awarded this year to songwriting duo, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. During their acceptance speech, Huff said, “When we met it was an explosion -- we went on a creative rampage.” Miguel soulfully performed their classic, “Me & Mrs. Jones.”
Rosanne Cash had tears in her eyes as she presented the Visionary Leadership Award to BMI President Del R. Bryant. The award acknowledges a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Board of Directors who has made a significant contribution in furthering the ongoing mission of the organization.
The night came to a close with a video acceptance from inductee Ray Davies who said he is still “astounded by the way songs connect people” followed by a smashing performance of his hits “Celluloid Heroes,” “Better Things,” “Low Budget” and “All Day and All Night” by rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
The 45th 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.