Paul Williams To Receive Prestigious Johnny Mercer Award

Previously announced inductees include * Mariah Carey * Annie Lennox / Dave Stewart p/k/a Eurythmics * Ernie Isley / Marvin Isley / O’Kelly Isley / Ronald Isley / Rudolph Isley / Chris Jasper p/k/a The Isley Brothers * Steve Miller * Chad Hugo / Pharrell Williams p/k/a The Neptunes * Rick Nowels * William “Mickey” Stevenson

NEW YORK – February 25, 2020 –The Songwriters Hall of Fame announced today that Paul Williams will be the 2020 recipient of the esteemed Johnny Mercer Award at the 51st Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 11th 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. Paul Williams was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.
SHOF Chairman Nile Rodgers said, “Paul Williams is a songwriter’s songwriter. He’s one of the most wonderful and colorful creators of our time and a man who has given the world so much love through songs like “Just An Old Fashioned Love Song,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and “Rainbow Connection.” As my fellow collaborator on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, it’s a pleasure for all of us at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame to be able to repay that love with the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award to go along with his Oscar, three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and Ivor Novello International Award, as well as his earned induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.”

Paul Williams’ standards have been recorded by such diverse musical icons as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, The Carpenters, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Willie Nelson, Gonzo and Kermit The Frog. Although Williams is widely known as an actor in dozens of films and on television, it is his musical legacy that continues to inspire. His songs and scores have received six Oscars, nine Grammy Awards, six Golden Globes and two Emmy nominations. “The Rainbow Connection,” from the children’s classic The Muppet Movie, co-written with Kenny Ascher, is one of two Williams’ two songs that grace the American Film Institute’s List of Top Movie Songs of All Time; the second, “Evergreen,” co-written with Barbara Streisand, is from the award-winning Barbra Streisand/ Kris Kristofferson remake of A Star Is Born.

Additional song scores include the cult favorites Phantom of the Paradise and Ishtar, as well as The Muppet Christmas CarolBugsy Malone, and Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, the latter of which has now been adapted for the stage. Paul created the story and wrote the songs for Disney’s Emmy-nominated A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa and penned the music and lyrics for Garry Marshall’s theatrical sensation Happy Days. His recent work has remained wonderfully diverse, having co-written “Beyond” and “Touch” (which he also performed, receiving a Grammy as Featured Artist) on Daft Punk’s chart-topping, ‘Album of the Year’ Random Access Memories; and writing with Gustavo Santaolalla for the animated film, The Book of Life which received a World Soundtrack Award for their “Apology Song”. They also collaborated on Guillermo del Toro’s stage musical adaptation of Pan’s Labyrinth.
While publicly lauded for his work as a songwriter, author and actor, Paul predicts he’ll be remembered for playing Little Enos in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy and for his lyrics to “The Love Boat theme, co-written with Charlie Fox. However, it is the lyrics from Bugsy Malone that aptly sum up his philosophy: “You give a little love and it all comes back to you; You’re gonna’ be remembered for the things that you say and do”.
As President and Chairman of the Board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Paul is a leading spokesman for music creators in the digital age. In addition to music creators’ rights, Paul is also passionate about recovery and works tirelessly to destigmatize alcoholism and addiction. His career, life, and work in recovery have been chronicled in the acclaimed documentary, Paul Williams Still Alive, for which Paul wrote the critically acclaimed title track. Sober nearly 30 years, his humorous observations of life, love, and creativity, augmented by the education and knowledge he gained through his studies and certification from UCLA as a Certified Drug Rehabilitation Counselor, has been shared in a best-selling book co-written by Tracey Jackson, entitled Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life which was featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

Paul is a devoted husband to writer Mariana Williams and proud father to son Cole and daughter Sarah, whom he considers to be his best work.

Inductees at this year’s event include Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox / Dave Stewart p/k/a Eurythmics, Ernie Isley / Marvin Isley / O’Kelly Isley / Ronald Isley / Rudolph Isley / Chris Jasper p/k/a The Isley Brothers, Steve Miller, Chad Hugo / Pharrell Williams p/k/a The Neptunes, Rick Nowels and William “Mickey” Stevenson.

Read the interview with Paul Williams in Variety by Jem Aswad here!

Ticket Information: 
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,750 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 $180. 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] 
Jessica Sciacchitano
Rogers & Cowan
[email protected]