New York, NY – November 7, 2017 - The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced its slate of nominees to be elected for induction at its Annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 14, 2018, 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. To qualify for induction, a songwriter must be a published writer for a minimum of 20 years with a notable catalog of hit songs. Eligible voting members will have until December 17, 2017 to turn in ballots with their choices of three nominees from a non-performing and three from a performing category. For information with which to join or renew as a voting member before November 17 in order to participate in this election, please go to songhall.org/join.
Bios and photos of the 2018 nominees can be found below:
(*Note that the five songs listed after each nominee are merely a representative sample of their extensive catalogs)
The only songwriter in history to have written charted songs in each of seven consecutive decades, legendary Grand Ole Opry headliner Bill Anderson is among the few country songwriters to cross over to the pop charts in the 1960s with such hits as “Still,” “8 X 10,” “The Tip of My Fingers” and “Mama Sang a Song.” His first #1 (of 14) was “City Lights” for Ray Price in 1958 - when Anderson was just 19, and he soon had hits with the likes of Connie Smith, Hank Locklin, Porter Wagoner, Jim Reeves, Faron Young, Roger Miller and Kitty Wells. Topping the country charts in the ‘60s and ‘70s with classic songs like “I Get the Fever,” “My Life” and “Sometimes,” the hits he had from the ‘90s on with artists including Steve Wariner, Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill, George Strait and Brad Paisley (whose Anderson-penned “Whiskey Lullaby” won the 2005 Country Music Association Song of the Year award) led to his becoming the first country songwriter to receive the BMI Icon Award, in 2002.
Key songs in the Anderson catalog include: * Mama Sang A Song * Po’ Folks * Still * Tips Of My Fingers * Whiskey Lullaby
The team of the late Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown wrote some 40 songs, including “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” a 1973 chart-topper for Tony Orlando and Dawn that was covered by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. It took a life of its own following the American hostage crisis in Iran and has now been recorded over 2,000 times. Levine and Brown also wrote other big hits for Orlando and Dawn, including “Knock Three Times” and “Candida,” while Brown also co-wrote hits for others like Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels’ “Sock it to Me, Baby!” and the Four Seasons’ “C,mon Marianne.”
Key songs in the Brown/Levine catalog include: * Tie A Yellow Ribbon * Knock Three Times * I’m Gonna Boogie Tonight * Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose * I Woke Up In Love This Morning
Native Australian Mike Chapman found fame in Britain, where he wrote such major hits in the 1970s as The Sweet’s “Little Willy,” Suzi Quatro’s “Can the Can,” Smokie’s “Living Next Door to Alice,” Exile’s “Kiss You All Over” and Toni Basil’s “Mickey”—all with fellow songwriter-producer Nicky Chinn, with whom he created the “Chinnichap” sound. With Holly Knight he wrote the Grammy-winning hits “Better Be Good to Me” (Tina Turner”) and “Love Is a Battlefield” (Pat Benatar). After moving to the U.S. in 1975 he buttressed his production credits with Nick Gilder, Blondie and The Knack.
Key songs in the Chapman catalog include: * Kiss You All Over * Heart And Soul * Better Be Good To Me * Love Is A Battlefield * The Best
Grammy and Emmy nominated Steve Dorff has written songs sung by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Anne Murray, George Strait and Vanessa Williams, while also establishing himself as a gifted film and television composer. He’s tallied over 40 BMI awards with hits like Rogers’ “Through the Years,” Murray’s “I Just Fall in Love Again” (Billboard’s top country hit of 1979), Strait’s “I Cross My Heart,” Lee Greenwood’s “Don’t Underestimate My Love for You,” and Eddie Rabbitt’s “Every Which Way But Loose”—the title track from Clint Eastwood’s 1978 film. The father of actor Stephen Dorff and late songwriter Andrew Dorff, he also composed TV music for Spenser: For Hire, Murphy Brown, The Singing Bee, Just the 10 of Us, Growing Pains, Murder She Wrote, Columbo and Reba; his other film contributions include songs and scores for Bronco Billy, Rocky IV, Pure Country, Tin Cup and Honky Tonk Man.
Key songs in the Dorff catalog include: * Through The Years * I Just Fall In Love Again * Heartland * Every Which Way But Loose * Hypnotize The Moon
Both signed to Charley Pride’s Pi-Gem Music publishing company headed by Nashville producer/publisher Tom Collins, Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan began writing together in 1978 and quickly churned out “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed,” which became Barbara Mandrell’s first country chart-topper that year. That the team had the magic touch was soon borne out by such country hits as Mandrell’s “Years” and “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” Ronnie Milsap’s “Smoky Mountain Rain” and “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World,” and Sylvia’s “Nobody” and “Tumbleweed.” Morgan was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004, and Fleming joined him there in 2009.
Key songs in the Fleming/Morgan catalog include: * Sleeping Single In A Double Bed * I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool * Crackers * I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World * Smokey Mountain Rain
After starting out at age 12 as a dancer in hip-hop group Whodini and performing with other artists including Herbie Hancock and Run-D.M.C., Jermaine Dupri became a producer in 1990 and formed the duo Kris Kross the following year. Their multi-platinum 1992 debut album Totally Krossed Out contained the singles “Jump,” which he helped write, and “Warm It Up,” which he wrote by himself. Since then, he has established his So So Def Recordings record label and contributed to songs recorded by Lil’ Kim (“Not Tonight”), Xscape (“Just Kickin’ It”), Da Brat (“Funkdified”), Destiny’s Child (“With Me,” on which he was also featured), Bow Wow (“Let Me Hold You”) and most notably, Usher (“You Make Me Wanna,” “Nice & Slow,” “My Way,” “Burn,” “Confessions Part II” and “My Boo”) and Mariah Carey (“Always Be My Baby” and the Grammy-winning smash “We Belong Together).”
Key songs in the Dupri catalog include: * Always Be My Baby * We Belong Together * Confessions Part II * U Got It Bad * Jump
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 1978 pop chart-topping signature song “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
As a team, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell wrote and produced the Toys classic “A Lover’s Concerto” and “Attack!,” and wrote many other pop-rock hits of the 1960s. For Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons they provided “Working My Way Back to You,” “Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me),” and (with Bob Crewe) “Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got).” The duo also wrote songs for The Monkees and had numerous credits with other writers outside their own partnership.
Key songs in the Linzer/Randell catalog include: * A Lover’s Concerto * Let’s Hang On To What We’ve Got * Native New Yorker * Opus 17 (Don’t Worry ‘bout Me) * Workin’ My Way Back To You
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)
After achieving success with 1980s funk/hip-hop group Jonzun Crew—but unable to duplicate it as a solo artist—Maurice Starr found greater fame as songwriter and producer. At a local talent show that he staged in Boston, Starr discovered boy band New Edition, then co-wrote and co-produced their 1983 debut album Candy Girl, which yielded the hits, “Candy Girl,” “Is This the End” and “Popcorn Love.” In 1984, he created another huge boy band with New Kids on the Block, and broke it big in 1988 with second album Hangin’ Tough (which he produced and wrote), its hit singles including “Please Don’t Go Girl,” “You Got It (The Right Stuff,” “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever),” “Hangin’ Tough” and “Cover Girl.”
Key songs in the Starr catalog include: * Candy Girl * I’ll Be Loving You Forever * Is This The End * Jealous Girl * Step By Step
Motown A&R director William “Mickey” Stevenson teamed with the late Detroit songwriter/producer/singer George Ivy Hunter (who was best known as Ivy Jo 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
A 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
Besides her record sales and concerts, superstar Mariah Carey stands apart from her other contemporary divas in that she co-writes—and produces—her own songs. Indeed, a quick scan through her immense hit singles catalog reveals that such No. 1 hits as “We Belong Together,” “Always Be My Baby,” “Fantasy,” “Touch My Body” and “Hero,” were all co-written by her. But in addition to being the solo artist with the most ever pop No. 1 hits (18), Carey, who has collaborated with the likes of Gavin Christopher, Ben Margulies, Walter Afanasieff, David Cole, Robert Clivillés, Jermaine Dupri, Sean Combs, Kamaal Fareed, David Foster, Diane Warren, Bryan-Michael Cox, Babyface, Jay-Z and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, has also been credited for incorporating R&B and hip-hop collaborations into mainstream pop.
Key songs in the Carey catalog include: * Vision Of Love * One Sweet Day * Hero * Always Be My Baby * We Belong Together
Tracy Chapman caused an immediate sensation in 1988 with “Fast Car,” the self-penned lead single from her self-titled worldwide multi-platinum debut album. It propelled her to three Grammy Awards (Best New Artist, Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance) out of six nominations, and eight years later she won the 1997 Grammy for Best Rock Song (“Give Me One Reason”). A staunch social activist who was awarded an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts by her alma mater (Tufts University) for her commitment to social activism, Chapman has recorded duets with B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Stephen and Ziggy Marley, Luciano Pavarotti, Dave Matthews and Buddy Guy, and was commissioned by the American Conservatory Theater to compose the music for its 2008 production of Blood Knot, Athol’s Fugard play about apartheid in South Africa.
Key songs in the Chapman catalog include: * Baby, Can I Hold You * Fast Car * Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution * Give Me One Reason * Across The Lines
Jamaican reggae legend Jimmy Cliff achieved note in the U.S. for his starring role in the groundbreaking 1972 Jamaican movie The Harder They Come, which included his performances of two classic songs that he wrote—the title track and “You Can Get It If You Really Want.” But he was already an international star, whose song “Vietnam” was hailed by none other than Bob Dylan as the best protest song he’d ever heard. Cliff, who also successfully covered Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” and Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now,” also wrote his hits “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” and “Many Rivers to Cross,” and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
Key songs in the Cliff catalog include: * The Harder They Come * Many Rivers To Cross * Sitting In Limbo * Wonderful World, Beautiful People * You Can Get It If You Really Want
Known as “The Godfather of Shock Rock” as well as a heavy metal music pioneer, Vincent Damon Furnier, using the stage name Alice Cooper, wrote and recorded “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out”—early 1970s hit songs that endure as teen anthems. major Cooper hits include “Elected” and “No More Mister Nice Guy,” and in 2011, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cooper’s collaborators have included Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy, while prominent fans include Bob Dylan, the Sex Pistols’ John Lydon—who called Cooper’s album Killer the greatest rock album ever—and They Might Be Giants, who cited 13 Cooper songs in their song “Why Must I Be Sad?”
Key songs in the Cooper catalog include: * No More Mr. Nice Guy * I’m Eighteen * School’s Out * Only Women Bleed * You And Me
Known as “The Storyteller,” Country Music and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Tom T. Hall typically told stories in songs such as the Grammy-winning “Harper Valley PTA,” which allowed Jeannie C. Riley to top both the pop and country singles charts in 1968, and Hall’s own No. 1 country hit “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine,” which Rolling Stone has ranked in its list of 100 greatest country songs. Hall’s other hits include country classics “I Love,” “Country Is,” “The Year Clayton Delaney Died,” “I Like Beer” and “Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet).” Other artists who have recorded Hall compositions include Johnny Cash, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings and Alan Jackson, who took his “Little Bitty” to No. 1 on the country charts in 1996.
Key songs in the Hall catalog include: * Harper Valley PTA * I Love * Old Dogs Children And Watermelon Wine * I’m Not Ready Yet * Little Bitty
Ohio native Chrissie Hynde became a new wave legend after moving to England in 1973 and forming her band The Pretenders in 1978. Their self-titled debut studio album rocketed them to stardom, fueled by Hynde’s compositions “Precious,” “Kid,” “Tattooed Love Boys” and “Brass in Pocket.” Other Hynde songs that became Pretenders hits included “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love,” and in 2005 she, with The Pretenders, were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Key songs in the Hynde catalog include: * Brass In Pocket * Talk Of The Town * Back On The Chain Gang * I’ll Stand By You * My City Was Gone
Initially a vocal trio made up of brothers O’Kelly Isley Jr., Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley, the Isley Brothers broke in 1959 with their first composition “Shout,” also a big UK hit for Lulu. The first single for their own T-Neck label, 1964’s “Testify,” also stands out for being one of Jimi Hendrix’s first recordings, as Hendrix recorded and toured with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vocal group. Following the Grammy-winning “It’s Your Thing” (1969), younger brothers Ernie and Marvin Isley and brother-in-law Chris Jasper joined in 1971, and the Isley Brothers, in varying configurations and incorporating different styles, wrote and recorded such hits as “Pop That Thang,” “That Lady,” “Fight the Power,” “For the Love of You” and “Caravan of Love,” with Ice Cube sampling their song “Footsteps in the Dark” for his hit “It Was a Good Day” and Notorious B.I.G. likewise sampling “Between the Sheets” for his hit “Big Poppa.”
Key songs in the Isley catalog include: * Fight The Power * It’s Your Thing * Nobody But Me * Shout * That Lady
Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson, who is also a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, has had 35 No. 1 country hits since his 1989 debut, having written or co-written 26 of them. They include such landmark singles as “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (1991) and “Chattahoochee” (1993)—both earning Billboard song-of-the-year citations—and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” Jackson’s 2001 response to 9-11 that won multiple awards at the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Awards, including Song of the Year, and also earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Country Song. Besides writing hits for other country artists including Randy Travis, Faith Hill, Clay Walker and Chely Wright, Jackson has covered songs honoring his favorite singers including Charley Pride, Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard and George Jones, while winning over 50 ASCAP awards for his own writing.
Key songs in the Jackson catalog include: * Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) * Remember When * Chattahoochee * Here In The Real World * Drive (for Daddy Gene)
With members including brothers Robert “Kool” Bell on bass and Ronald Bell on tenor saxophone, lead vocalist James “J.T.” Taylor 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
Finding fame first as rocker Johnny Cougar, Grammy-winner John Mellencamp gradually reclaimed his real name while staking out his own singular rock sound. Indeed, self-penned songs like “Small Town” and “Cherry Bomb” embodied the genre of music now known as roots rock, or Americana. Together with massive Top 40 hits like “Hurt So Good” and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” they earned him numerous prestigious awards including the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Special Music Industry Humanitarian Award, the Billboard Century Award, the Woody Guthrie Award, the ASCAP Foundation Champion Award, Q Awards’ Classic Songwriter Award, the Americana Lifetime Achievement Award and the John Steinbeck Award (given to those individuals who exemplify the spirit of “Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of the common man”), and in 2008 he was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Key songs in the Mellencamp catalog include: * Jack And Diane * Hurts So Good * Pink Houses * Small Town * R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.
As N.W.A., the late Easy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella came to embody the influential gangsta rap subgenre of hip-hop in the mid-1980s. The group employed explicit lyrics in addressing the violence and crime of their neighborhood in Compton, just south of Los Angeles. Although its final album was 1991’s Niggaz4Life—and Eazy-E died in 1995—surviving members of N.W.A. have periodically reunited, and in 2015 the highly influential group was the subject of the award-winning biopic Straight Outta Compton, with its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame taking place the following year.
Key songs in the NWA catalog include: * Straight Outta Compton * F**k Tha Police * Express Yourself * Gangsta Gangsta * Boyz-N-Tha-Hood
One of the most distinctive singer-songwriters in rock, Tom Waits has nevertheless succeeded in placing his singular blues and jazz-derived songs elsewhere. The Grammy-winner’s lovely “Jersey Girl” has become a Bruce Springsteen favorite, while “Downtown Train” became a big hit for Rod Stewart. The Eagles, Sarah McLachlan, Bob Seger, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Patty Smyth are among those who have also covered Waits, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
Key songs in the Waits catalog include: * Ol’ 55 * Jersey Girl * (Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night * Innocent When You Dream * Downtown Train