Songwriters Hall Of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Robert Lamm & James Pankow, P/K/A “Chicago,” Max Martin, And Shawn “Jay Z” Carter To Be Inducted

2016 Nominee Berry Gordy Will Also Be Inducted

June 15, 2017, New York City

New York, NY – February 22, 2017 – Musical titans Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Robert Lamm & James Pankow, p/k/a “Chicago,” Max Martin, and Shawn “JAY Z” Carter will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 48th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner.  Berry Gordy, who deferred his induction in 2016, will also be part of the 2017 class.  These legendary songwriters wrote mega-hits such as, “I’ll Make Love to You,” “Money (That’s What I Want),” “Tender Love,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “...Baby One More Time” and “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).” The star-studded induction event is slated for Thursday, June 15th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon.

“With our 2017 roster of inductees, the Songwriters Hall of Fame moves definitively into recognizing music creators of the 21st century while continuing to honor the greats of earlier decades. The combination of contemporary sounds and timeless hits of the past is certain to make for an unforgettable evening,” said SHOF co-chairs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and President Linda Moran. “The songwriters we honor cross genres, regional and even national boundaries - R & B, Rap, Pop and Rock & Roll from both coasts, the American heartland and Sweden. We are thrilled to once more have the opportunity to preside over an event that recognizes the convergence of song craft and musical performance at the very highest level.”

Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future.  In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of troubadours.

Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds
Babyface’s award-winning, multi-faceted pop/urban career includes the consecutive multi-platinum landmark albums Tender Love, For the Cool in You (including signature hits “Never Keeping Secrets” and “When Can I See You”) and The Day (”Every Time I Close My Eyes”). As co-founder with L.A. Reid of LaFace Records in 1989, Babyface nurtured the careers of megastars such as TLC, OutKast, Usher and Toni Braxton. An 11-time Grammy Award winner, Babyface most recently released Return of the Tender Love in December 2015, his first solo album in seven years. This latest project introduces a freer, less structured Babyface putting his stamp on a contemporary sound he describes as “unapologetic R&B.” This album follows up the critical and commercial response to his and Toni Braxton’s 2014 Grammy-winning album Love, Marriage & Divorce.

Paralleling those achievements is Babyface’s extensive songwriting and production credits from the ‘90s forward. He has produced and written/co-written hits for everyone from Whitney Houston’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight” which was his first number one Top 40 hit in the US and the number one hit “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” as the rest of the critically acclaimed 10 million-selling Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, which spawned additional hits for Houston, Brandy and Mary J. Blige, to Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, P!nk and Beyoncé, among countless others. That hit list boasts smashes such as Madonna’s “Take a Bow,” which had a seven-week run at number one the charts, Clapton’s chart-topping Grammy winner “Change the World,” and Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love to You”, both of which established records for the longest stay at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His most recent productions include collaborations with Bruno Mars, Kat Graham, Johnny Mathis, music for a new Adam Sandler film and BET’s New Edition Story, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Ledisi, Colbie Caillat, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, After 7, and Toni Braxton.

The prolific music man counts more than 200 top 10 R&B and over 50 top 10 pop hits (including 16 No. 1’s). In turn those stats have generated cumulative single and album sales of more than 500 million units worldwide. He has won numerous awards and honors including the Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards, American Music Awards, BET Walk of Fame Award, and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.

New solo CD is coming in 2017.

Berry Gordy
Berry Gordy founded Motown Records, the hit-making enterprise birthed in 1959, in Detroit, Michigan, that nurtured the careers of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, and many other music greats. First and foremost Gordy was a songwriter, a dreamer who wanted to write about what people felt, needed and wanted. Songwriting was his love and motivation for everything he did. The basis of his approach was in simple, lyrical concepts.

Jackie Wilson’s first five singles including hits “Reel Petite,” To Be Loved” and “Lonely Teardrop” were the results of his co-writing with his sister Gwen Gordy Fuqua and Roquel Billy Davis. Prior to starting Motown, Gordy further collaborated on “Come To Me” and “You’ve Got What It Takes” for Marv Johnson, and in 1959 the first hit for Gordy’s new Tamla label and what he needed most - “Money (That’s What I Want),” co-written with Janie Bradford, recorded by Barrett Strong at Hitsville’s Studio A. The song was later covered by the Beatles on their second album.

Gordy’s protégée and the first writer he signed was William “Smokey” Robinson.  Most notable was their catchy “Shop Around,” the first million-selling single for Tamla. In 1962, Gordy’s song, “Do You Love Me?” became the Contours’ only Top 40 single on Billboard’s Hot 100 U.S. chart. In 1988 its inclusion in the soundtrack of More Dirty Dancing, revived the record’s popularity.

As business took off, Gordy continued writing songs for his artists, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Martha & the Vandellas and more. In 1967, his work with Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway and Frank Wilson earned Brenda her third top 40 single with “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.” The song was covered in 1969 by Blood, Sweat & Tears and went to #2 on the charts. In 1970 his newly-signed group, The Jackson 5, topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Want You Back,” followed by three more number one singles, also co-written by Gordy, “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There.”

A number of Gordy’s songs and collaborations have been included in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” they’ve been used in television and film and have been covered by artists from various genres: John Fogerty, Cee Lo Green, Brian Hyland, Joe Tex, the Dave Clark Five, the Flying Lizards, Captain & Tennille, Lou Rawls, Michael Buble, Johnny Gill and more. Among the awards recognizing Gordy’s songwriting accomplishments are ASCAP’s American Legend Award, Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award and Pioneer Award and numerous Citations of Excellence from BMI and ASCAP.

With many careers to handle, develop and manage, Gordy’s songwriting soon gave way to running the business.  He became a producer, director, innovative entrepreneur, teacher and visionary and has received four honorary doctorates, including one in music from Eastern Michigan University. Last year he was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

Berry Gordy’s unparalleled contribution to music and popular culture is chronicled in his autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown.  It is the basis for his play, Motown the Musical, which premiered on Broadway in 2013. It garnered 4 Tony nominations, with The New York Times calling it Broadway’s “biggest box office hit of the year.” The London production, which opened in 2016, continues to draw packed houses and has been extended to 2018.  One of Gordy’s many joys in creating the Musical was returning to his first love—songwriting.  When he couldn’t find songs to fit some key scenes, he co-wrote three new ones. The musical, currently touring across America to sellout crowds through 2018, proves that Berry Gordy, songwriter, is still working his magic.

Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
As one of the most successful songwriting/production teams in modern musical history, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have penned hits for music superstars including Michael Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West and many more.

The 5-time Grammy winning duo has crafted distinctive, memorable and instantly engaging songs for over three decades. Crossing stylistic boundaries, from pop, rock, and soul, to rap, hip-hop and dance they have fashioned a sound completely their own.  With more Billboard number ones than any other songwriting and production team in history, they have produced 16 Billboard Hot 100 number one hits, and 26 Billboard R&B number one hits. They are among a handful of producers to have number one records in three consecutive decades and have had 41 songs reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

They first met in Minneapolis in 1972 and were discovered and signed by Prince 1981 as members of the seminal group, The Time. While members of The Time, the pair was tapped by Tabu Records Chairman Clarence Avant to produce the SOS Band, which resulted in chart topping hits, “Just Be Good To Me,” and “Tell Me if you Still Care,” launching them into full time producers.

By the mid-eighties they became the most sought-after collaborators in music, thanks largely to their work with Janet Jackson on her 1986 breakthrough album, Control, which earned them a Producer of the Year Grammy. Three years later Jimmy and Terry followed it up with another multi-platinum smash for Janet, Rhythm Nation 1814. By that time they had also racked up chart toppers such as Force M.D.’s “Tender Love” and legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert’s chart toppers “Keep Your Eye On Me” and “Diamonds.”

The duo formed Flyte Tyme Productions and publishing company Flyte Tyme Tunes as well as their own label, Perspective Records, which included the powerful gospel choir Sounds of Blackness, whose debut release, The Evolution of Gospel, was another Grammy winner.

The two also composed Oscar and Golden Globe nominated music for films and a song for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Jam served as the Chairman of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the first and only African American to be elected to that esteemed position.  They have been named ASCAP Songwriters of the Year nine times, are recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP and have a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Robert Lamm & James Pankow p/k/a "Chicago" 

Singer-songwriter-instrumentalists Robert Lamm & James Pankow either singly or in collaborations, were the chief songwriters of supergroup Chicago. Their enormously influential work helped pave the way for jazz-oriented rock. 

Robert Lamm has been with Chicago since the beginning. Chicago’s first album Chicago Transit Authority contained seven of his songs, “Beginnings,” “Poem 58,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?,” “Questions 67 & 68,” “Listen,” “South California Purples,” and “Someday.” He continued writing for the band, throughout the 70’s and 80’s with hits, “25 or 6 to 4,” “Wake Up Sunshine,” “Dialogue,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Another Rainy Day in NYC,” and “Getaway.” 

James Pankow, trombonist, arranger and composer, is also one of the bands founding members. As the band’s principal arranger, he created the trademark signature style of Chicago’s horns and composed many of their songs, including the hits “Make Me Smile”, “Colour My World,” “Just You ‘N' Me,” “Searchin’ So Long,” “Old Days,” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” and “Alive Again.” One of his most acclaimed pieces is “Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon,” which he wrote when he was 22-years-old. The band was constantly on the road and Pankow became drawn to Bach, whose technical perfection and melodic genius inspired him immeasurably. He began experimenting with arpeggios and the result was a key moment in the ballad, “Colour My World.” 

Pankow and Lamm have continued to release albums into the 2000’s.  Lamm is a prolific composer with seven solo albums. 

Chicago’s lifetime achievements include two Grammy Awards (one is for Chicago's first album, Chicago Transit Authority, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2014), multiple American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. Record sales top the 100,000,000 mark, and include 21 Top 10 singles, 5 consecutive Number One albums, 11 Number One singles and 5 Gold singles. An incredible 25 of their 36 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards. Chicago are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017, and are working on Chicago XXXVII.

Max Martin
When a teenage Swedish metal band front man made the choice to drop out of school and pursue his dream of making music, no one could have guessed that he would go on to shape the face of popular music over the next several decades.

But Max Martin, born Karl Martin Sandberg, would have never made the jump from glam metal to pop had he not been recruited by Swedish DJ, producer and songwriter, Denniz PoP. Under PoP’s tutelage, Martin sunk his teeth into learning the ins and outs of composing a contemporary radio hit, stressing the power of a memorable melody.

Martin’s first big break came on The Backstreet Boys eponymous album, on which he penned the hit single, “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He went on to craft some of the band’s biggest hits from later albums like Millennium, including “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and “I Want It That Way.” Martin’s success snowballed into collaborations with other up-and-coming pop icons, including Britney Spears and NSYNC.

Notoriously promotion-shy, Martin’s all about the creation process. His dedication and passion for the craft is why he has had a major role in shaping today’s biggest acts, like Katy Perry, The Weeknd and Taylor Swift, contributing to many of their most commercially successful hits.

In 1999, Martin became the first ever non-American to win the ASCAP’s “Songwriter of the Year” Award, after writing Britney Spears’ runaway hits “...Baby One More Time,” and “(You Drive Me) Crazy.” He has gone on to win the award nine times in total, and since 2011, has won six consecutively.

Martin has also had writing credits on twenty-two songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100, the third most of any songwriter after John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney. Martin’s two most recent Hot 100 hits are The Weeknd’s 2015 hit, “Can’t Feel My Face,” and Justin Timberlake’s 2016 single “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!,” which won a Grammy in 2017. With sales in the hundreds of millions, Max Martin is considered as one of the most successful producers and songwriters of the 21st century.

Shawn “JAY Z” Carter
Since 1996, 21-time Grammy award winner, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter has dominated an evolution in popular culture.  With more than 100 million records sold he is one of the best-selling musicians of all time.  Also a powerful entrepreneur across the music/entertainment, fashion and sports industries, JAY Z personifies the “American Dream.”

The accomplished lyricist co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995, and dropped his debut album, Reasonable Doubt the following year.  It reached number 23 on the Billboard 200 chart and was later included in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” In 1997, JAY Z released his follow-up In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, which went platinum. In 1998, he released Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, earning him his first Grammy and spawning his biggest hit at the time, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).” The album became his most commercially successful album, certified 5x platinum.  1999 saw the release of Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, featuring the hit “Big Pimpin’.”

Recognized for his remarkable wordplay, JAY Z’s success continued to grow in the new millennium. In 2000 JAY Z released The Dynasty: Roc La Familia featuring the track “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”.  In 2001 JAY Z released his sixth studio album, The Blueprint, also named one of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Written in just two days and soared to the top of the charts, with smash hits “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Jigga That Ni**a”, and “Song Cry”.  2002’s The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse also debuted at number one, selling over 3 million units in the U.S. alone.  The album spawned two massive hit singles, “Excuse Me Miss” and “‘03 Bonnie & Clyde”, featuring Beyoncé.  Plus other notable tracks including “Guns & Roses,” featuring Lenny Kravitz, “Hovi Baby,” “A Dream”, featuring Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G. and “The Bounce”, featuring Kanye West.  The Black Album was released in 2003 and included notable tracks “What More Can I Say”, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, “Change Clothes”, and “99 Problems” and was named one of Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.  In 2006 he released Kingdom Come featuring the track “Show Me What You Got,” followed by 2007’s American Gangster featuring the single “Blue Magic.” The following year he became the record holder for most number one albums on the Billboard 200, with the release of The Blueprint3, which was also named album of the year by Billboard. It included smash hits “Run This Town” ft. Rihanna and Kanye West, “Empire State of Mind,” featuring Alicia Keys and “On To The Next One,” featuring Swizz Beatz.  JAY Z’s 2010 album with Kanye West, Watch the Throne, broke the record for most albums sold in one week on iTunes and also became his 12th number one Billboard album release.  In 2013 he came back to the top of the chart with Magna Carta Holy Grail, which included three successful singles, “Holy Grail”, “Tom Ford” and “Part II (On the Run)” featuring Beyoncé.

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]