New York, NY – October 20, 2016 - The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced its slate of nominees to be elected for induction at its Annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 15, 2017, in New York City.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of those composers and lyricists who create music around the world. Eligible voting members will have until December 16, 2016 to turn in ballots with their choices of three nominees from a non-performing and two from a performing category. For information with which to join or renew as a voting member before November 15 in order to participate in this election, please go to songhall.org/join.
Bios and photos of the 2017 nominees can be found on the songhall.org website, and the nominees are:
(*Note that the five songs listed after each nominee are merely a representative sample of their extensive catalogs)
Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (the name “Babyface” was given to him by Bootsy Collins) teamed up with Antonio “L.A.” Reid when he was keyboardist in The Deele (Reid was drummer). After an early songwriting success in 1983 with “Slow-Jam” for Midnight Star, Edmonds helped pioneer the new jack swing style of R&B with his writing and production work for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White and Sheena Easton; he also co-founded LaFace Records with Reid, and it became the home of TLC and Toni Braxton. Later clients included Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Madonna, Eric Clapton and Mary J. Blige, and in 2006 he was named a BMI Icon—having won the BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year award seven times.
Key songs in the Babyface catalog include: * Another Sad Love Song * Breathe Again * End Of The Road * Exhale (Shoop Shoop) * I’ll Make Love To You
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Randy Goodrum was the 1981 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year. But he had already made a big name for himself with hits like Anne Murray’s much-covered signature 1978 pop chart-topping “You Needed Me.” Numerous other pop and country hits were forthcoming, most notably Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherrie” and DeBarge’s “Who’s Holding Donna Now” on the pop side, and Dottie West’s “Lesson In Leavin’” and the Kenny Rogers-Dottie West duet “What Are We Doin’ In Love” on the country side.
Key songs in the Goodrum catalog include: * You Needed Me * Bluer Than Blue * I’ll Be Over You * Foolish Heart * Oh Sherrie
The songwriter/producer team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have won over 100 ASCAP songwriting and publishing awards, including a record-sharing eight Songwriter of the Year awards. Most successful with Janet Jackson, their GRAMMY-nominated songs for her include “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” “Miss You Much,” Alright” and “That’s the Way Love Goes” (which won) with “Again” earning all three an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song from the movie Poetic Justice. Other important songs in the Jam/Lewis catalog are Human League’s “Human,” Karyn White’s “Romantic,” Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee” and “4 Seasons of Loneliness,” Mariah Carey’s “Thank God I Found You” and Yolanda Adams’ GRAMMY-winning “Be Blessed.”
Key songs in the Jam/Lewis catalog include: * Control * Escapade * Fake * I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On * On Bended Knee
A much-awarded songwriter in England, Tony Macaulay was a staff producer at Pye Records, where he supplied The Foundations with his co-written song “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” and follow-up “Build Me Up Buttercup.” Other hits followed for the likes of Herman’s Hermits (“I Can Take or Leave Your Lovin’”), The Hollies (“Sorry Suzanne”) and the Flying Machine (“Smile a Little Smile For Me”). His hitmaking ways continued in the 1970s with songs like “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” (Edison Lighthouse) and “Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again” (The Fortunes).
Key songs in the Macaulay catalog include: * Baby Now That I’ve Found You * Build Me Up Buttercup * Don’t Give Up On Us * Last Night I Couldn’t Get To Sleep At All * Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
Swedish songwriter and producer Max Martin has written and co-written huge hits since the mid-1990s for the likes of Backstreet Boys (“I Want It That Way”), Britney Spears (”...Baby One More Time”), Bon Jovi (“It’s My Life”), Kelly Clarkson (“Since U Been Gone”), Pink (“So What”), Katy Perry (“I Kissed a Girl”) and Taylor Swift (“Shake It Off”). With 21 No. 1 U.S. pop singles to his credit, he ranks behind only Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and has reached the Top 10 more often than Madonna, Elvis Presley and the Beatles. He has received ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year award eight times—tying him at the top with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Key songs in the Martin catalog include: * …Baby One More Time * Can’t Feel My Face * I Kissed a Girl * I Want It That Way * Shake It Off
Singer-songwriter Kenny Nolan scored a No. 3 hit in 1976 with “I Like Dreamin’” and a No. 20 hit the following year with “Love’s Grown Deep.” With Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Bob Crewe he co-wrote such hits as Frankie Valli’s “My Eyes Adored You” and Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade.” As a producer, he also wrote and/or produced hits including Jim Gilstrap’s “Swing Your Daddy” and “Take Your Daddy for a Ride,” Dee Clark’s “Ride a Wild Horse,” and Linda Carr’s “High Wire,” and also wrote R&B hits including Tavares’ “A Penny for Your Thoughts,” The Deele’s “Shoot ‘Em Up Movies” and Atlantic Starr’s “Masterpiece.”
Key songs in the Nolan catalog include: * Lady Marmalade * My Eyes Adored You * I Like Dreamin’ * Masterpiece * Get Dancin’
Dan Penn, who co-wrote “Dark End of the Street” and “Do Right Woman,” then partnered with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sideman Spooner Oldham (organ player on hits like “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “Mustang Sally”) to pen some of the most memorable pop and r&b hits of the 1960s. For The Boxtops they wrote “Cry Like a Baby,” and they supplied James and Bobby Purify with “I’m Your Puppet.” Aretha Franklin had a big hit with their “Do Right Woman,” while Janis Joplin’s recording of their “A Woman Left Lonely” is among her top album cuts.
Key songs in the Penn/Oldham catalog include: * Cry Like a Baby * Sweet Inspiration * I’m Your Puppet * It Tears Me Up * A Woman Left Lonely
Country singer-songwriter Paul Overstreet has written No. 1 hits for Randy Travis (“Forever and Ever, Amen” and “On the Other Hand”), Keith Whitley (“When You Say Nothing at All”) and Blake Shelton (“Some Beach”), as well as himself (“Daddy’s Come Around”). He’s written other big hits for artists including The Judds (“Love Can Build a Bridge”) and Kenny Chesney (“She Things My Tractor’s Sexy”). He’s won two GRAMMY Awards as well as ACM and CMA Song of the Year awards, and was BMI Songwriter of the Year a record five straight years (1987–91).
Key songs in the Overstreet catalog include: * On The Other Hand * One Love At A Time * Deeper Than The Holler * Forever And Ever Amen * When You Say Nothing At All
The songwriting team of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri was one of the most successful of the pop-rock scene based in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s. Barry McGuire’s hit recording of their apocalyptic “Eve Of Destruction” was a signpost for a generation and its era. But Sloan/Barri’s lighter fare was equally impressive and significant, and included songs for The Turtles (“You Baby” and “Let Me Be”), Herman’s Hermits (“A Must to Avoid” and “Hold On!”), The Grass Roots (“Where Were You When I Needed You”) and Johnny Rivers (“Secret Agent Man”).
Key songs in the Sloan/Barri catalog include: * A Must To Avoid * Eve Of Destruction * Secret Agent Man * Where Were You When I Needed You * You Baby (Nobody but You)
Motown A&R director William “Mickey” Stevenson teamed with the late Detroit songwriter/producer/singer George Ivy Hunter in co-writing some of the greatest songs to come out of the Motown hit factory. Among their most memorable compositions were Martha & the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street” and the Four Tops’ “Ask the Lonely.” Hunter and Stevenson also found songwriting success independent of each other, with Stevenson co-writing Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels’ “Devil with the Blue Dress On.”
Key songs in the Stevenson catalog include: * Beechwood 4-5789 * Dancing In The Street * Devil With The Blue Dress * It Takes Two * Pride And Joy
GRAMMY, Emmy, Tony and Webby award-winning and nominated songwriter/performer, Allee Willis’s credits include Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and “Boogie Wonderland,” the Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance,” Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield’s “What Have I Done to Deserve This” and The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You (Theme from Friends).” She has collaborated with the likes of Bob Dylan, James Brown and Herbie Hancock, and also co-authored the Oprah Winfrey-produced Broadway musical The Color Purple. The prolific and versatile songstress won a Best Soundtrack GRAMMY for Beverly Hills Cop.
Key songs in the Willis catalog include: * Boogie Wonderland * I’ll Be There For You * Neutron Dance * September * What Have I Done To Deserve This
Composer/lyricist Maury Yeston wrote the music and lyrics to the Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals Nine and Titanic. He also wrote much of the music and lyrics to Grand Hotel and has composed numerous Off-Broadway musicals including Death Takes a Holiday, as well as the song cycle December Songs and the choral symphony An American Cantata and Tom Sawyer: A Ballet in Three Acts. Additionally, he has served as director of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop and as an Associate professor of music at Yale, and is a lifetime member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
Key songs in the Yeston catalog include: * “Nine” Broadway musical * “Titanic” Broadway musical * Unusual Way * Be Italian * Till I Loved You
One of the best-selling music artists ever, Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Bryan Adams has had a songwriting hand in such major hits as “Cuts Like a Knife,” “Run to You,” “Summer of ’69,” “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” “Heaven,” “All for Love” and “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman.” His plethora of citations include 20 Juno Awards, 15 GRAMMY nominations (including his win for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television), three Ivor Novello Awards and MTV, ASCAP and American Music Awards.
Key songs in the Adams catalog include: * (Everything I Do) I Do It for You * Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? * Heaven * Cuts Like a Knife * Summer of ’69
One of the most important and successful artists in the rap/hip-hop genre, Shawn Carter, who’s known to all as Jay Z, is responsible for many hits including “Empire State of Mind” (featuring Alicia Keys), “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” “Holy Grail” (featuring Justin Timberlake), “Otis” (featuring Kanye West, along with a sample of Otis Redding) and “Crazy In Love” (co-written by Jay and performed by Beyoncé and Jay Z). His compositions and recordings have shown the influence of classic soul artists like Al Green, Bobby “Blue” Bland,” David Ruffin and The Jackson 5—all of whom were sampled on Jay Z’s landmark 2001 album The Blueprint. The celebrated songwriter has won 21 GRAMMY Awards, three American Music Awards, seven BET Awards, two Billboard Music Awards, eight MTV Video Music Awards and numerous other honors.
Key songs in the Jay Z catalog include: * Empire State Of Mind * Crazy In Love * 99 Problems * Hard Knock Life * Big Pimpin’
Singer-songwriter-instrumentalists Peter Cetera, Robert Lamm and James Pankow, either singly or in collaborations, were the chief songwriters of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Chicago. Key songs credited to the trio include “Colour My World,” “Make Me Smile,” “Saturday in the Park,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,” “Wishing You Were Here,” “Baby, What a Big Surprise” and “If You Leave Me Now.” Their enormously influential work helped pave the way for jazz-oriented rock.
Key songs in the Chicago catalog include: * 25 Or 6 To 4 * Saturday In The Park * Colour My World * Baby, What A Big Surprise * Feelin’ Stronger Everyday
Combined with her voice, Gloria Estefan’s songwriting has made her one of the biggest Latin music crossover stars ever, and the embodiment of the “Miami Sound.” She wrote the No. 1 pop hits “Don’t Wanna Lose You” (the Spanish version, “Si Voy a Perderte,” topped the Hot Latin Songs charts) and “Anything for You,” as well as the chart-topping Adult Contemporary hit “Words Get in the Way.” She also had a hand in co-writing Hot Latin No. 1 hits including “Tradición,” which despite being in Spanish, reached No. 1 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
Key songs in the Estefan catalog include: * “On Your Feet!” Broadway musical * Anything For You * Words Get In The Way * Rhythm Is Gonna Get You * Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
Keyboardist/vocalist David Gates founded the hugely successful soft-rock group Bread in 1968 as a vehicle for singing his own songs. He wrote most of their trademark hits including “Make It With You,” “Baby I’m-a Want You” and “Everything I Own.” His songs have been covered extensively by others and also include the Murmaids’ 1963 Top 10 entry “Popsicles and Icicles.”
Key songs in the Gates catalog include: * Baby I’m-a Want You * Diary * Everything I Own * If * Make It With You
One of the most celebrated songwriters—and artists—in country music history, Vince Gill first came to fame as songwriter and performer in Pure Prairie League. After going solo as a country artist, he broke ground in winning three straight CMA Awards for Song of the Year from 1991 to 1993 for “When I Call Your Name,” “Look at Us” and “I Still Believe in You” (he won it again in 1996 for “Go Rest High on That Mountain”). Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005, Gill, who was also named the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s Songwriter/Artist of the Decade for 1990-1999 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007, has had his songs covered by many others ranging from Alabama to Rosanne Cash.
Key songs in the Gill catalog include: * Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away * If You Ever Have Forever In Mind * I Still Believe In You * Never Knew Lonely * One More Last Chance
Born Steven Demetre Georgiou and now known as Yusuf Islam following his conversion to Islam, Cat Stevens was one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the 1970s. After securing a U.K. deal with his song “I Love My Dog”—which eventually charted there in 1966—he wrote “Here Comes My Baby,” a hit for the Tremeloes in both the U.K. and U.S. P.P. Arnold’s 1967 British hit of Stevens’ ”The First Cut Is the Deepest” would later be a U.S. hit for both Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow; meanwhile, Stevens became a major star on both sides of the Atlantic with his version of “Wild World,” which was a previous hit for Jimmy Cliff in England, and such follow-up hits as “Moon Shadow,” “Peace Train” and “Morning has Broken.”
Key songs in the Stevens catalog include: * Moonshadow * Morning Has Broken * Peace Train * The First Cut Is The Deepest * Wild World
With members including brothers Robert “Kool” Bell on bass, Ronald Bell on tenor saxophone and drummer George Brown, Kool & The Gang settled into a novel and immensely successful pop-funk groove in the 1970s and ‘80s. Still active, the group’s classic hits include “Jungle Boogie,” “Hollywood Swinging,” “Celebration,” “Get Down On It” and “Joanna.” Their songs have been featured in films (“Jungle Boogie” was in Pulp Fiction while “Summer Madness” appeared in Rocky) and have been sampled countless times by artists including DJ Kool, Mase, Too Short, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Boogie Down Productions, Brand Nubian, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, N.W.A., Kris Kross and Jermaine Dupri.
Key songs in the Kool & The Gang catalog include: * Celebration * Fresh * Get Down on It * Joanna * Ladies Night
English pop-rock luminary Jeff Lynne first found fame in The Move, then made it big on both sides of the pond as leader of the Electric Light Orchestra. With ELO, he wrote such hits as “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.” He later co-founded the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, and had a writing hand in their hits “Handle with Care” and “End of the Line”; he also wrote hits for the likes of Orbison (“You Got It”) and Petty (“I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin’”).
Key songs in the Lynne catalog include: * Evil Woman * Mr. Blue Sky * Don’t Bring Me Down * Turn To Stone * Strange Magic
Madonna could never have become a music icon without songs, and she wrote and produced most of them with estimable collaborators like Steve Bray, Patrick Leonard, Shep Pettibone, Mirwais Ahmadzaï, Rick Nowels, Nate Hills, Justin Timberlake and William Orbit—with whom she wrote the GRAMMY-winning “Beautiful Stranger” for the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Other hits written or co-written by Madonna have become pop classics and include “Into the Groove,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Like a Prayer,” “Vogue,” “Frozen,” “Music,” “Hung Up” and “4 Minutes.” With themes spanning everything from love and relationships to sexuality and AIDS, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has been recognized by Rolling Stone as “an exemplary songwriter with a gift for hooks and indelible lyrics.”
Key songs in the Madonna catalog include: * Everybody * Into The Groove * Like A Prayer * Material Girl * Vogue
George Michael burst on the scene in 1984 when he hit No. 1 with “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” the first of his three consecutive chart-toppers as the singer and songwriter of Wham! His success only grew when he went solo, topping the charts again and again with hits like “Faith” and “One More Try.” With over 100 million records sold, he has been cited in England as the most played artist on radio between 1984 and 2004.
Key songs in the Michael catalog include: * Careless Whisper * Faith * Father Figure * I Want Your Sex * Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart is up there with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic as a pioneer of funk. A former disc jockey and producer of Bay Area bands including The Beau Brummels and the Great Society, he formed the boundary-breaking multi-racial, -gender and -genre group Sly & the Family Stone in San Francisco in 1967. The group’s hits included “Dance to The Music,” “Everyday People” and “Family Affair,” and their hugely influential recordings have been sampled time and again.
Key songs in the Sly Stone catalog include: * Dance To The Music * Everyday People * Family Affair * Hot Fun In The Summertime * Thank You (Falettin’ Me Be Mice Elf Again)