Lionel Richie To Receive Prestigious Johnny Mercer Award

Previously Announced Inductees Include: Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye*, Tom Petty, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards* and Chip Taylor

New York, NY ? April 11, 2016 ? The Songwriters Hall of Fame announced today that Lionel Richie will be the 2016 recipient of the esteemed Johnny Mercer Award at the 47th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 9th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

The Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is exclusively reserved for a songwriter or songwriting team who has already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact, that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer. Lionel Richie was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.

“With this being our inaugural year as Co-Chairmen of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, it gives us great pleasure and honor to announce that Lionel Richie will be this year?s recipient of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award,? said Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. ?In our view, Lionel is more than well deserving of this honor as one of the greatest and most prolific songwriters and identifiable music voices in our century. As a songwriter, Lionel?s songs made you love and dance and will last forever in American culture; but he truly demonstrated the power of songwriting with his masterful co-writing of the global song “We Are The World” with Michael Jackson. We consider our dear friend Lionel Richie a songwriting phenomenon!!”

International superstar Lionel Richie has a discography of albums and singles that are second to none. His music is part of the fabric of American pop music; in fact, Lionel Richie is one of only two songwriters in history to achieve the honor of having #1 records for nine consecutive years. With over 100 million albums sold worldwide, an Oscar, four Grammy awards and the distinction of MusiCares Person of the Year, the Tuskegee, Alabama native is a true music icon. 

In 1968 Lionel joined The Commodores, signing to Motown Records in 1971. In The Commodores, he developed a groundbreaking style that defied genre categories, penning smashes such as ?Three Times A Lady,? ?Stuck on You,? ?Still,? and ?Easy.? Another unexpected opportunity came knocking when Kenny Rogers asked Lionel for a song. He?d never given a song to another artist up until that point, but ?Lady? became a milestone.  This song is one of four of Lionel?s that live on the Billboard ?100 Greatest of All Time.?

In 1981 Lionel pursued a solo career and quickly became one of the most successful artists of the 1980?s, earning a string of 13 top ten hits between 1981 and 1987, including nine #1 singles.  The first was ?Endless Love,? a ballad that he wrote and sang as a duet with his friend, Diana Ross.  The single garnered both Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations, and Motown asked him to do a solo album. The self-titled debut would cement him as a star in his own right and earn him his very first Grammy for the hit ?Truly.?

Diamond-certified ?Album of the Year? winner Can?t Slow Down followed in 1983, giving the world classics such as ?All Night Long (All Night),? ?Penny Lover,? ?Stuck On You,? and ?Hello.?

1985 saw him join forces with Michael Jackson to write one of most important pop songs in history, ?We Are The World,? for USA for Africa and the album We Are The World. That same year ?Say You, Say Me? would achieve an Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award for ?Best Original Song.? The following year, Lionel upped the ante yet again with 1986?s seminal Dancing on the Ceiling, which remains one of his most infectious and incendiary offerings to this day.

A decade later in 1996, he began a run of powerful, personal albums that commenced with the Gold-certified Louder Than Words and followed by 1998?s Time and 2000?s Renaissance. The 21st Century saw Lionel once again magnetically attract the zeitgeist to him. Whether it was collaborating with Lenny Kravitz or collaborating with everybody from Ne-Yo and The-Dream to Akon on 2009?s ?Just Go,? his latest renaissance was well underway

In 2012, the trailblazer creatively returned home with his tenth full-length album Tuskegee, which featured duets with Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, and Little Big Town. It would mark his third number one debut on the Billboard Top 200 and go platinum.

This year, Lionel was honored as the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year. At the 2016 Grammy Awards Luke Bryan, Demi Lovato, Tyrese Gibson, John Legend, and Meghan Trainor combined their talents to perform some of his greatest hits, paying perfect tribute to his iconic career.

Lionel continues to tour worldwide. In 2015 he performed at Glastonbury to the largest crowd in the festival?s history. Following that performance his Definitive Collection album shot up to #1 in the UK.  In April 2016 he will kick off a Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood.

Past Johnny Mercer Award recipients have included songwriting giants: Van Morrison, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Phil Collins, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Anka, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Jimmy Webb, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Paul Simon, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Stephen Sondheim, Cy Coleman, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.

Inductees at this year?s event include Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye*, Tom Petty, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards* and Chip Taylor. Seymour Stein will receive the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award.

* Marvin Gaye and Bernard Edwards will be inducted posthumously.

Ticket Information:
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,250 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, 914-579-1000. Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.  Songwriters Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 organization.  The non-deductible portion of each ticket is $170. Contributions, for which no goods or services are received in exchange, are fully tax-deductible as provided by law.

Fran Curtis
Rogers & Cowan
[email protected]

Cara Hutchison
Rogers & Cowan
[email protected]