The ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City was filled with some of the best talent in the music industry. The Songwriters Hall of Fame hosted its 41st annual induction and awards dinner to recognize the work of composers and lyricists worldwide.
This year’s inductees have impressive musical portfolios, popular melodies, and million dollar record sales. SHOF Chairman/CEO Hal David announced that Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster, Johnny Mandell, and Earth Wind & Fire will enter the legendary hall.
Many popular artists and music greats were present to pay homage to the chosen tunesmiths. Billy Joel, K.D. Lang, Judy Collins, and Billy Joel performed. Presenters included Paul Simon, Peter Cetera, Phil Collins, Kim Carnes, (“Bette Davis Eyes”), and John Mayer.
Canadian music icon Leonard Cohen has written over 2000 songs, all recorded by such well-known artists as R.E.M., Bob Dylan, Sir Elton John, Judy Collins, Willie Nelson, and Justin Timberlake, to name a few. He’s a Grammy Award winner, receiving the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a songwriter, also highlighting his successful performing career.
Leonard is already in the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame, getting inducted in 2008. He is currently on a world tour playing to packed houses. View Leonard’s performance of his hit, “Hallelujah” here.
This singer, songwriter was an early female pioneer of rock and roll. The Kentucky-born songstress with the soulful voice is best know for her hit, “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” written by the popular songwriting duo, Burt Bacharach and Hal David. (See DeShannon on the hit show Shindig! here).
The song she penned, “Put A Little Love In Your Heart,” became a popular tune. DeShannon was the opening act for The Beatles tour in 1964.
She hit pay-dirt with smash, “Bette Davis Eyes,” recorded by Kim Carnes, which became the number one single of 1981 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. DeShannon and writing partner Donna Weiss’ hit won Grammys for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
Her songs have been recorded by Al Green, Annie Lennox, Brenda Lee, Bruce Springsteen, The Temptations, Van Morrison, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Foster is the exec/producer with “the Midas touch.” Whatever Foster puts his hands to turns to, well, gold, and it glitters brightly. Drum roll, please. Foster is a 15-time Grammy Award winner, (he has 46 nominations), an Emmy in 2004, seven Juno Awards, (Canada’s Grammys), and three Oscar nods.
The Canadian musical star started to rise when he penned the tune for the group Chicago, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” and Peter Cetera, who recorded “The Glory of Love.” (Check out Foster with Peter Cetera here).
Some of the most illustrious talent from all genres of music have worked with the producer, such as, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Earth Wind & Fire, and so many, many more.
Which of these Foster tunes do you recognize? “After the Love Has Gone,” “I Have Nothing,” “Look What You’ve Done To Me,” “The Prayer,” “You’re The Inspiration.” Can you identify who sang each of these songs? (Answers are at the end of the article).
Composer, arranger, instrumentalist, and record producer. Those are the accomplishments of Johnny Mandell, a five-time Grammy Award recipient. Mandell has won an Oscar and an Emmy, too.
Playing and writing for Big Bands like Buddy Rich, Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, and the Count Basie Orchestra allowed Mandell to hone his craft and make a name for himself. He dug the West Coast music scene and headed out there in 1954, working with heavy-hitters Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, and Andy Williams. Now, that’s an all-star cast!
Mandell is a TV and movie composer and his filmscores include ‘The Sandpiper,” “M*A*S*H,” (great TV show), and “The Russians Are Coming.” Listen to the theme from M*A*S*H here.
Still working, producing, and arranging with artists Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Barbra Streisand, and more, Mandell continues his magic.
Earth Wind & Fire
Undeniably one of the most popular bands of the pop/rock era, the Chicago group, Earth Wind & Fire, is a conglomeration of prolific talent. Their creative, unique sound is a fusion of pop, rock, R&B, Latin, Funk, Jazz, soul, and African World music that sets them apart.
With more than 50 Gold and Platinum albums to their credit, the group has sold 90 million albums worldwide. Add to that 20 Grammy nominations with six wins, the Lifetime Achievement Recognition from ASCAP, the NAACP Hall of Fame, BET’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, four American Music Awards, and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn, and Al McKay, have two songs that have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame: “That’s The Way of the World,” and “Shining Star,” in 2007. (Watch videos here, and here).
Songwriters Hall of Famers
Members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame include Loretta Lynn, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes, Dolly Parton, Bill Withers, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Carole King, Sir Elton John, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Billy Joel, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, and many, many more.
For more information on the Songwriters Hall of Fame, click here.
To join, go here.
Answers to songs: “After The Love Has Gone,” Earth Wind & Fire, “I Have Nothing,” Whitney Houston, “Look What You’ve Done To Me,” Boz Scaggs, “The Prayer,” Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, “You’re The Inspiration,” Chicago, written with Peter Catera.
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