JUNE 19, 2015 – NEW YORK - The 2015 Songwriters Hall of Fame 46th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner was a sparkling success, as SHOF President/CEO Linda Moran recognized and celebrated some of the best songwriting legends of our time. Last night, icons Bobby Braddock, Willie Dixon, Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia, Toby Keith, Cyndi Lauper and Linda Perry were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Honored with special awards were Lady Gaga, who was presented with the first-ever Contemporary Icon Award; Van Morrison, who received the Johnny Mercer Award; Nate Ruess (of fun.), who received the Hal David Starlight Award; John LoFrumento was presented with the Visionary Leadership Award; the 2015 Towering Song Award was awarded to “What A Wonderful World,” which was written by SHOF inductees, George David Weiss and Bob Thiele.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame induction and awards dinner, year after year, is a night full of unforgettable moments celebrating the art of songwriting. The night kicked off as Bernie Taupin posthumously inducted the great Willie Dixon, whose daughter, Jacqueline Dixon, accepted on his behalf. Ledisi performed an upbeat medley of Dixon’s chart-topping hits in his honor, including, “I Just Wanna Make Love To You,” “Hoochie Choochie Man,” “Spoonful,” and “Wang Dang Doodle” with Richie Sambora on guitar and vocals.
Carly Rae Jepsen gave a heartfelt performance of Cyndi Lauper’s, “Time After Time,” before inducting the songwriter who then performed her hit, “Hat Full Of Stars.” Lauper said, “It’s a privilege to make music. I still can’t believe I can make a living making music.”
Mike O’Neill and Paul Williams presented the Visionary Leadership Award to ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento. 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. SHOF inductee, Ne-Yo, had the audience clapping along with his performance of “Coming With You.”
Stephen Colbert surprised the audience on stage to induct Toby Keith, and gave an exciting performance of “Not As Good As I Once Was.” Toby wowed the crowd with a powerful rendition of “Clancy’s Tavern,” with Scott Emerick on guitar. Of his award, Toby said that it is “the only thing I ever wanted.”
Lady Gaga inducted Linda Perry and gave a spectacular performance of “What’s Up.” After thanking, Songwriters Hall of Fame saying, “I’m just in awe,” Perry stunned audiences with a solo performance of her emotional hit, “Beautiful.”
John Titta introduced the 2015 Towering Song Award, which is presented each year to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years. This year, the award went to George David Weiss and Bob Thiele’s “What A Wonderful World.” Dr. John performed a unique version of the classic song, and then Titta presented the award to George David Weiss’ widow, Claire Creatore, and publishers Caroline Bienstock, David Hirschland and Peter Raleigh.
The celebratory evening continued as SHOF inductee, Benny Blanco, presented Nate Ruess with the 2015 Hal David Starlight Award. Each year, this award is presented to young songwriters who are making a significant impact in the music industry with their original songs. Ruess then sang his new song, “Great Big Storm.”
Jennifer Nettles inducted Bobby Braddock after performing an emotional rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” which received a standing ovation. After his induction, Braddock performed his “country rap” hit, “I Wanna Talk About Me.”
Zac Brown inducted Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia (posthumously) after a lively performance of “Casey Jones.” Robert was joined by Garcia’s daughter, Theresa, who accepted the induction on her fathers’. Hunter then performed one of the Grateful Dead’s best-known songs, “Ripple.”
Linda Perry returned to the stage to perform a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” before introducing the iconic Tony Bennett. Bennett welcomed Lady Gaga to the stage, and presented her with the first-ever Songwriters Hall of Fame Contemporary Icon Award. The award was initiated this year in order to celebrate a songwriter-artist who has attained an iconic status in pop culture.
Michael Bublé hit the stage for a captivating performance of Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” before presenting the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, to icon, Van Morrison. Bublé then joined him for a soulful performance of his classic, “Real Real Gone.”
The evening closed as Philadelphia soul pioneers and recently named SHOF co-chairmen, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff thanked everyone for attending.
The 46th 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.