The Songwriters Hall of Fame has selected their Class of 2016.
From the Performing Songwriters nominees:
Tom Petty whose songs for his band the Heartbreakers and his solo works include Don’t Come Around Here No More, I Won’t Back Down, Refugee and Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.
Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (posthumously) whose work in Chic and with other artists produced such classics as Le Freak, Good Times, I’m Comin’ Out, Upside Down and We Are Family.
Not elected in the Performing Songwriters catalog were Gloria Estefan, Tom T. Hall, Deborah Harry and Chris Stein, Ernie, Marvin, O’Kelly, Ronald & Rudolph Isley and Chris Jasper, Jeff Lynne, Madonna, Michael McDonald, John Mellencamp, Steve Miller and Sly Stone.
From the Non-Performing Songwriters category:
Chip Taylor who, although he is now a recording artist, was chiefly a songwriter when he wrote such classics as Angel of the Morning, Wild Thing, I Can’t Let Go, Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) and Son of a Rotten Gambler.
Not making the cut this year were Rudy Clark, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmunds, Dallas Frazier, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, John D. Loudermilk, Max Martin, Bob McDill, Curly Putnam, Teddy Riley and Rod Temperton.
From the Deceased Songwriters:
Marvin Gaye who, while recording songs by the Motown stable of writers, also wrote hits for himself and others including What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, Dancing in the Street and Pride and Joy.
Falling short were Lionel Bart, Bert Berns, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix and Roger Miller.
Also selected by a special panel was Elvis Costello.
Songwriters Hall of Fame co-chairs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff said “The 2016 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a beautiful mosaic of the best of late 20th Century popular music. With creators of Rock & Roll, Soul/R&B, Country and Funk/Dance represented, we are looking forward to an unforgettable and extremely exciting event and evening at the Marriott Marquis on June 9th. With the exception of two, all of the 2016 inductees are alive and continue to be as vitally creative as ever. This year’s Induction and Awards Dinner will mark our first year as Chairmen at the SHOF helm and we could not be more excited about the quality and diversity of the songs and songwriters that will be honored.”
The 47th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, June 9 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.
Biographies of the new inductees from the Songwriters Hall of Fame press release:
Elvis Costello wrote his first song “Winter” in the appropriately gloomy key of E Minor at the age of 15. Born Declan MacManus, the son of a dance band singer and a record shop assistant, Elvis Costello has written close to four hundred songs. The impact of many of them has far out-distanced their commercial performance.
His 1977 debut album My Aim Is True, began an unbroken run of U.K. chart success placing “Watching The Detectives,” “(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea,” “Pump It Up,” “Radio Radio,” “Oliver’s Army” and “Accidents Will Happen,” in the popular imagination. Ironically, “Alison,” perhaps his most famous song, has never been a hit on record by any artist but endures alongside a rare U.S. chart success, “Everyday I Write The Book.” The 1982 album Imperial Bedroom included “Almost Blue,” later recorded by Chet Baker, Jimmy Scott and Costello’s wife, Diana Krall. Costello’s songs have also been cut by George Jones, Georgie Fame, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Dusty Springfield, Robert Wyatt, Charles Brown, Solomon Burke, June Tabor and The Fairfield Four.
Major songwriting collaborations include a dozen titles written with Paul McCartney and the hit singles “Veronica” and “My Brave Face” – The Juliet Letters, composed with the Brodsky Quartet and Painted From Memory with Burt Bacharach featuring the Grammy winning song “I Still Have That Other Girl.” Since the year 2000, Costello has provided the title song for the albums For The Stars – with classical mezzo-soprano, Anne Sofie von Otter – The River In Reverse – with Allen Toussaint – and Wise Up Ghost – with The Roots. In 2014, Costello composed music for a dozen unpublished Bob Dylan lyrics from 1967 and was part of the New Basement Tapes album Lost On The River. This was overseen by T Bone Burnett, producer of King Of America, Spike and National Ransom from which came “Indoor Fireworks,” “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror” and “Jimmie Standing In The Rain.” Costello and Burnett also co-wrote Academy Award Nominated song “The Scarlet Tide.”
Working purely as a lyricist, Costello most famously wrote the words for Clive Langer’s enduring ballad “Shipbuilding.” He has also written a lyric for Billy Strayhorn’s Blood Count, entitled “My Flame Burns Blue” and words for the music of Diana Krall, Steve Nieve, Roy Nathanson and eight Charles Mingus compositions. He is the author of the recently published memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink.
Soul singer, songwriter and musician, Marvin Gaye, helped shape the sound of Motown when he burst onto the scene in the 1960’s. Often referred to as the Prince of Motown and the Prince of Soul, Marvin wrote and recorded major hits such as “What’s Going On,” which reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, while the album itself ranks as the 6th greatest albums of all time; Billboard number one and platinum single “Let’s Get It On,” and his biggest career hit “Sexual Healing,” which won two Grammy’s in 1982.
His early success came when he co-wrote the Martha and the Vandellas smash “Dancing In The Streets ” in 1964, which was later recorded as a duet by David Bowie and Mick Jagger, “Baby, I’m For Real” and “The Bells,” both for The Originals, plus tracks of his own including “Stubborn Kind Of Fellow,” “Hitch Hike” and “Pride And Joy.” In the 1970’s, his Grammy-nominated album What’s Going On brought the concept album format forward, producing multiple top ten singles including “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “Inner City Blues.” His 1973 Let’s Get It On album sold over three million copies and featured additional singles including “Come Get To This” and “Distant Lover.” With 17 studio albums, Marvin later went on to write the #1 song “Got to Give It Up,” which topped three different Billboard charts and became a worldwide success from the album Live At The London Palladium.
Artists from many genres have covered and sampled his music, including James Taylor, Brian McKnight, Kate Bush, Jay-Z, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Aaliyah, Howard Hewitt, The Strokes, Bono, Donny Hathaway, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige and Joni Mitchell. Leaving such a mark on popular culture, Marvin has been awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and been inducted into both the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Tom Petty and his band The Heartbreakers released their debut album in 1976 and have since sold over 80 million records. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, their first year of eligibility, and in recent years have continued to build on their already legendary success. Their concerts are celebrated by fans and critics alike and their music has influenced numerous young bands and writers around the world. Between the Heartbreakers’ recordings, his solo work and his membership in The Traveling Wilburys along with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty has received 18 Grammy nominations and been honored with lifetime achievement awards including Billboard’s Century Award, ASCAP’s Founders Award, MTV’s Video Vanguard Award. Tom Petty’s SiriusXM radio show, Tom Petty’s Buried Treasure, now in its tenth season, is one of the most beloved and popular shows on satellite radio. Now, Tom Petty Radio has arrived to SiriusXM. On this exclusive channel, all of Tom Petty’s music recorded over the years lives alongside his Buried Treasure Radio show, plus other musical and informational content curated by Tom Petty himself.
Tom Petty’s songwriting credits include: “American Girl,” “Breakdown,” “Listen To Her Heart,” “I Need To Know,” “Refugee,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Even The Losers,” “Here Comes My Girl,” “The Waiting,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “You Got Lucky,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Jammin’ Me,” “Handle With Care,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” “Free Fallin’,” “Learning To Fly,” “Into The Great Wide Open,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Wildflowers,” “Time To Move On,” “It’s Good To Be King,” “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “You Wreck Me,” “Walls,” “A Room At The Top,” “The Last DJ,” “Saving Grace,” “Scare Easy,” “Good Enough,” “American Dream Plan B,” Forgotten Man,” “U Get Me High” and many more.
Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards*
Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards formed a life-long friendship and musical partnership when both were working with The Big Apple Band. They went on to form CHIC in 1976, infusing song with the principle of DHM (Deep Hidden Meaning), or understanding a song’s DNA and relaying it through different levels, yet still preserving its fundamental truth. The burgeoning disco movement catapulted CHIC’s soulful, sophisticated sound to the pop charts with Rodger and Edwards writing hits such as “Everybody Dance” and the Grammy-nominated Top 10 hit “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah).”
Streamlined yet sumptuous grooves became synonymous with CHIC Organization Ltd., the company that Rodgers and Edwards established for their productions within CHIC and with outside artists. C’est CHIC (1978), which Billboard selected as “#1 R&B Album of 1979,” featured another Top 10 gold single “I Want Your Love” while “Le Freak” topped the pop, R&B, and disco charts, earning the distinction of the biggest-selling single in the history of Atlantic Records. The songwriting duo received their second Grammy nomination for “Best R&B Song” with the title track to We Are Family (1979) by Sister Sledge. “We Are Family” became a massive worldwide anthem as the album topped the R&B chart and spawned dance floor favorites like “Lost In Music” and “He’s the Greatest Dancer.” A wall of gold singles and platinum albums grew with CHIC’s third release, Risqué (1979). “Good Times” not only scored another crossover number one hit for the group, and would influence hits by rock acts like Queen, Blondie, INXS, and the Clash, it kindled the hip hop movement when Sugar Hill Gang memorably sampled the track on “Rapper’s Delight.”
The 1980s commenced with Rodgers and Edwards writing and producing their first album for Diana Ross. Their work on Diana (1980) powered the best-selling album of Miss Ross’ career. It soared to the summit of the R&B albums chart for eight weeks on the strength of “I’m Coming Out” and the chart-topping “Upside Down,” which also gave the star producers another Grammy nomination for “Best R&B Song.” Throughout the early-’80s, CHIC released four more albums as Rodgers and Edwards helmed Debbie Harry’s gold-certified solo debut KooKoo (1981), scored the soundtrack to Soup for One (1982), and produced sides for Carly Simon, Johnny Mathis, and Teddy Pendergrass, among other artists.
Chip Taylor’s songwriting accomplishments began with two of the biggest and most popular songs of the past 50 years, “Wild Thing” and “Angel Of The Morning.” These classic songs were huge chart hits and have become two of the most covered songs of all time. Taylor’s songwriting cut across genres, with pop hits “I Can’t Let Go” (The Hollies, Linda Ronstadt) and “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)” (Janis Joplin); R&B hits “Welcome Home” (Walter Jackson, Dusty Springfield) and “I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face” (Baby Washington); and country hits “Sweet Dream Woman” (Waylon Jennings), “Just A Little Bit Later Down The Line” (Bobby Bare) and “Springtime” (the Brown Family).
Taylor’s Storybook Children for Billy Vera & Judy Clay was the first interracial duet to hit the charts. His 1973 country/rock album, spawned many covers such as “Son Of A Rotten Gambler” (Emmylou Harris), “Clean Your Own Tables” (Johnny Cash) and “The Real Thing” (George Strait).
The most iconic singers of the past half-century have recorded his songs: Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, Ike & Tina Turner, Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield, Jimi Hendrix, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Nina Simone, Waylon Jennings, Chrissie Hynde, Fats Domino, George Strait, Anne Murray and Bonnie Raitt.
Now in his seventh decade of writing and performing songs, his own albums, including the Grammy-nominated Yonkers NY and Golden Kids Rules, a collaboration with his grandchildren Riley, Kate and Sammy Ennis, have been critically acclaimed and mainstays on the Americana charts. He continues to tour the world playing his songs for audiences everywhere.
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