UPDATE: We have a couple of general articles reporting on last night's ceremony. But first, the BBC has a video which includes a portion of Judy Collins' wonderful performance of Suzanne and a portion of Leonard Cohen's acceptance speech. Check it out at the BBC.
17 February 2010
Songwriters Hall of Fame highlights
Leonard Cohen honoured in Songwriters Hall of Fame
Canadian singer Leonard Cohen will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year, it has been announced.
Famous for such songs as Chelsea Hotel and Hallelujah, the 75-year-old will receive his accolade at a ceremony in New York on 17 June.
Earth, Wind and Fire members Maurice White, Philip Bailey and Verdine White will be honoured at the same event.
Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates composers and lyricists and has over 300 inductees.
The body "honours those whose work represents a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the world's popular music songbook".
Producer and composer David Foster also joins the honour roll this year, as do composer Johnny Mandel and singer-songwriter Jackie DeShannon.
Former Earth, Wind and Fire guitarist Al McKay and their ex-keyboardist Larry Dunn will also be recognised.
Cohen's latest honour follows the lifetime achievement award he received at the Grammys last month.
The veteran performer recently announced he was postponing a scheduled tour of Europe for six months because of a back injury.
Cohen has given almost 200 concerts around the world since he returned to touring in 2008 after more than a decade's absence.
by Andrew Vaughan
Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame
Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster, and Earth, Wind and Fire’s Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn and Al McKay have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Posthumous inductees were Tom Adair and Matt Dennis, Bob Marley, Laura Nyro, Sunny Skylar and Jesse Stone.
Phil Collins received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award in recognition of his success as a solo artist and as member of Genesis.
Collins said: “For a songwriter, it’s a huge honor. I was very surprised when I got the news.”
Nashville country music star Taylor Swift received the Hal David starlight award.
Phil Ramone was presented with the hitmakers award, which is given to songwriters who have written hit songs over a long period.
UPDATE: An article from the AP date June 18, 2010:
Swift among diverse honorees at Songwriters Hall
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY (AP)
NEW YORK — The iconic ballad "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was so stirring that even a young Paul Simon knew he was onto something special when he composed it 40 years ago.
"I thought, 'Hmm. That's better than I usually write,'" Simon recalled. "I was completely surprised that I wrote it — it was completely unlike anything I had ever done before."
On Thursday, Simon's magical moment — one of several in his long career — was honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame in a ceremony that featured Billy Joel, John Mayer, Judy Collins and more while honoring legends including Leonard Cohen as well as wunderkind Taylor Swift.
Swift was not among the inductees into the Songwriters Hall. But the 20-year-old Grammy winner was given the Hal David Starlight Award, which pays tribute to young songwriters with promise.
Mayer, a Swift friend and collaborator, presented her with her award, saying "she's no accident."
"You could put her in a time machine in any era and she would have a hit record," he said, adding this about her incredible success: "Don't confuse everybody loving one thing as hype. Sometimes that's everyone agreeing that it's fabulous."
When Cohen was young, he needed a little convincing of that. So the Canadian poet-turned-songwriter presented one of his works to Collins, the singer recalled, and asked her if it was a song. Her response? "It's a song, and I'm recording it tomorrow."
At the induction ceremony, she performed a pitch-perfect "Suzanne" and was then followed by k.d. lang's moving version of Cohen's "Hallelujah."
A soft-spoken Cohen quoted from his enduring song when he accepted his honor, saying, in part, "I'll stand before the lord of song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah." He received a standing ovation.
It was one of several on the night, which featured powerful performances and touching tributes.
The other inductees were Jackie DeShannon, whose hits include Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes"; reggae great Bob Marley; the late singer-songwriter Laura Nyro; Johnny Mandel, creator of the theme for "M.A.S.H."; David Foster, the Grammy-winning producer and songwriter who's worked with top artists ranging from Michael Jackson to Barbra Streisand; the principal members of the legendary band Earth, Wind & Fire; the late jazz songwriter Jesse Stone; the late Sunny Skylar, whose hits included "Besame Mucho"; and the team of Tom Adair & Matt Dennis, now deceased, who wrote songs such as "Everything Happens to Me."
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" was given the Towering Song Award, while Phil Collins, a previous inductee, was honored with the Johnny Mercer Award.
Producer Phil Ramone received the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award, and music publisher Keith Mardak received the Abe Olman Publisher Award.
UPDATE: Photos from Getty Images and one from the AP with k.d. Lang and Collins:
UPDATE: Photo from WABC and Leonard with Judy Collins and k.d. lang from Getty Images:
UPDATE: Leonard with Judy Collins from Getty Images and one from the AP with k.d. Lang and Collins:
UPDATE: First news article about Songwriters Hall of Fame event from USA Today. Photo from AP.
Tunesmiths celebrate their craft
Starry, starry night: The honorees at this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards Gala Thursday night at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel included noted tunesmiths/performers ranging from veterans Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Phil Collins, David Foster and Earth Wind & Fire to 20-year-old Taylor Swift.
Inspired: On the red carpet, Judy Collins recalled that she wasn't yet writing songs when she met inductee Cohen (elegant in black tie and a fedora), "and he asked me why. I started writing as a result. So he's not just someone whose work I've admired and recorded for years, but an inspiration to me as a songwriter."
What's luck got to do with it? Producer Phil Ramone figures "I've been lucky — like a director who gets great scripts." Billy Joel begged to differ, calling Ramone "a great craftsman who's been integral to my career. Someone who really knows what he's doing."
Multitasking: Inductee David Foster enthused about the work, noting "when I go to the doctor's office and they ask me to fill in my occupation, I don't put record executive or producer — I put songwriter. Being a songwriter comes first."
Excused absence: Who went missing from inductees Earth Wind & Fire? Maurice White— because his son was graduating from high school.
Phil Collins' writing advice: "Always try to do something different. You can't be afraid to fail."
Hit man: Sometime Chicago frontman Peter Cetera helped induct another prolific Canadian, Foster, with a medley of Hard to Say I'm Sorry, You're the Inspiration and Glory of Love. Charice, a petite teen with 10-octave talent, applied her pipes to one of Foster's many contributions to diva-dom, Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing.
With love in their hearts: Inducting singer/songwriter Jackie DeShannon, Kim Carnes revisited her old smash single Bette Davis Eyes; DeShannon dipped further back with Put A Little Love in Your Heart.
He's their man: Before inducting Cohen, Collins re-created her sparkling version of Suzanne, accompanying herself on piano, while k.d. lang paid homage to her fellow Canadian with a rapturous reading of Hallelujah (of which Cohen himself offered a soft spoken-word performance). All got standing ovations.
She's got a way about her: Presenting Swift with the Hal David starlight award, John Mayer praised her as "not a product of the hype machine" but rather of "everyone agreeing that something is fabulous. I've never in my life seen a more fearless creator." With acoustic guitar in hand, Swift sang White Horse and described what she loved about songwriting: "For me, songwriting is an escape from reality, where you have to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time."
UPDATE: Leonard with k.d. lang and Judy Collins from Getty Images:
UPDATE: Leonard with his award from Getty Images:
UPDATE: Photo from Associated Press:
UPDATE: Another photo from Getty Images. Leonard with Neil Portnow, David Foster, Linda Moran and Taylor Swift:
UPDATE: More photos from Getty Images. Leonard with Scott Greenstein (SIRIUS):
UPDATE: More photos from Getty Images. Leonard with Neil Portnow (President of Recording Academy) and Johnny Mandel, Taylor Swift and David Foster:
UPDATE: More photos from Getty Images. Leonard with David Foster, Taylor Swift and Judy Collins:
UPDATE: More photos from Getty Images. Leonard with Taylor Swift, Judy Collins and Martin Bandier:
Here are the first photos I've been able to find on the induction of Leonard Cohen into the Songwriters Hall of Fame today, June 17, 2010. Will update this entry as more info comes in.
These photos are from Getty Images: