JUNE 10, 2015 – NEW YORK - The 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame 47th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner was a sparkling success, as SHOF President/CEO Linda Moran and co-chairs, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff recognized and celebrated some of the best songwriting legends of our time. Last night, icons Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye*, Tom Petty, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards* and Chip Taylor were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Honored with special awards were Lionel Richie with the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award; Nick Jonas with the Hal David Starlight Award and Seymour Stein with the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award.
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 evening kicked off with Marcus Mumford delivering a rocking performance of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” before inducting the legendary songwriter, whom he called his “hero.”
Jussie Smolett took to the stage for a soulful rendition of “What’s Going On” before inducting Marvin Gaye posthumously. Marvin’s wife, Jan, accepted the honor on her late husband’s behalf, saying “Marvin was so special. Marvin is with us, he’s not going anywhere. We might not be able to see him in the flesh, but his spirit is so strong, and as Jussie said, his messages whether they be social, political, sexual are still relevant today.”
Rachel Platten performed inductee Chip Taylor’s hit “Angel Of The Morning” before Chip’s brother, actor, Jon Voight took the stage to welcome him into the Hall of Fame. Following his induction, Chip was joined on stage by his three granddaughters for a family performance of “Wild Thing” that had the audience singing along.
The B-52s gave a timeless performance of their hit “Love Shack” before welcoming Seymour Stein to the stage to accept the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award, which 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. Seymour told stories that had the room laughing.
The celebratory evening continued as late night host, James Corden presented pal, Nick Jonas with the 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. Nick then gave an energized performance of his smash hit “Jealous,” which had the audience clapping along.
Co-Chairs Gamble and Huff returned to the stage to welcome Jennifer Hudson who helped to honor Johnny Mercer Award recipient Lionel Richie with a flawless performance of “Still” before bringing him to the stage to present him with the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Humbled, Lionel Richie called it the “Best night of my life as a songwriter,” before sitting at the piano to play his hit, “Hello.”
Tom Petty was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame by Roger McGuinn who performed Tom’s hit “American Girl” before Tom hit the stage performing, his new song “Forgive It All” and “Angel Dream.”
The evening came to a close with Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards’ induction. Sister Sledge welcomed Nile and Bernard’s two sons, Bernard (“Focus”) Edwards Jr. and David Edwards to the stage and Nile recounted old tales of the duo, saying that they were “polar opposites but when they played music they were one.” Nile glowed with gratitude, holding his award high saying, “This is the one that means everything to me.” He performed “Le Freak” while the crowd danced along then Sister Sledge returned to the stage and had the audience on their feet with the hit “We Are Family.”