The Grammys may be the most anticipated event when it comes to music industry awards around the world, but the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony is without hesitation the most original and unique. An invite-only event, taking place on June 16 at the Marriott Marquis in New York, its awards honor the most important and even most neglected people in the music industry, the songwriters. It will be an annual family gathering for the community of songwriters and music publishers.
At each ceremony, superstars receiving honors often tell the room that the award means more to them than any other award they’ve received, because it’s an endorsement and validation from their peers. It’s a place where Lionel Richie said, “I feel humbled by the grandeur of this room”. It’s a space where you’ll see superstars like Billy Joel or Smokey Robinson or Ed Sheeran praising names like Allee Willis, John Bettis and Chip Taylor as equals, as influences, as icons, because they know that person wrote or co-wrote “September.” , “Top of the World” or “Wild Thing”, even though most of the world doesn’t.
Lady Gaga performing “What’s Up” at the 46th Songwriters Hall of Fame” (Video: Playback/Youtube).
The musical performers on the show are invariably A-list. Over the years, we’ve seen Neil Diamond, Drake, Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, John Prine, Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, and dozens. from others, as well as several completely unique tributes, such as Lady Gaga singing Four Non-Blondes’ hit “What’s Up” to Linda Perry, Stevie Nicks singing “The Rose” to Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris performing Eric Clapton’s soulful hit, “Tears in Heaven” for the song’s co-writer Will Jennings and at one of the awards shows last night ended with Billy Joel and Garth Brooks in a piano duet with matching Stetson hats. As with Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala, a video compilation of the countless classic Songwriters’ Hall of Fame performances would be one of the few remaining memories of the music business.
The Hall’s upcoming 51st ceremony is being delayed, picking up where it left off with the show it would have hosted in 2020, according to Hall CEO and Godmother Linda Moran, a former Warner Music executive.
Honorees include Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, the Isley Brothers, Steve Miller, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, Lana Del Rey/Stevie Nicks collaborator Rick Nowels and Motown veteran William “Mickey” Stevenson.
Master Songwriter and ASCAP President Paul Williams will receive the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, Lil Nas X will be honored with the Hal David Starlight Award for Promising Young Songwriters and Universal Music Publishing President and CEO Jody Gerson will receive the Abe Olman Publisher Award.
“The thought that we created an event that brings such strong feelings and that everyone is looking forward to like a catharsis after being stuck during COVID is incredibly gratifying.,” Moran told American magazine Variety. “It’s like a family reunion, and when we discussed the possibility of changing the venue or the format of the show, I realized that people want the familiarity and comfort of coming home as they remember it.”
She notes that organizers are taking “extraordinary precautionary measures against COVID”, reducing the number of tables and attendees to create more space, requiring proof of vaccination and mask recommendation, and the invitation notes that “other requirements may be implemented” . Moran also says that the stage mics will be changed frequently and that there will be no backstage areas or green rooms in an effort to protect the performers.
Featured Photo: Mariah Carey and others. Playback/Instagram.