June 19, 2008 @ Marriott Marquis, New York City
NEW YORK, N.Y. Desmond Child, Albert Hammond, Loretta Lynn, Alan Menken and John Sebastian were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 19, 2008 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. “From seminal rock to cross-over country, from pop anthems to Oscar-winning musicals, this years inductees truly have contributed to the soundtrack of our lives, commented Hall of Fame Chairman and songwriter extraordinaire, Hal David. We are immensely gratified with the growing impact of our event, which is now one of the industrys high points of the year, and we are looking forward to another memorable evening where we honor the accomplishments of our 2008 inductees.
The 2008 Special Award Honorees included John Rzenick (Hal David Starlight Award), Paul Anka (Johnny Mercer Award), “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Towering Song Award), Milt Okun (Abe Olman Publisher Award) and Anne Murray (Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award).
Performers and presenters included Natasha Bedingfield, Joan Jett, John Legend, Naked Brothers, Tom Paxton, Tim Rice, Irwin Robinson, Rouge: Maria Vidal, Diana Grasselli & Myriam Vaille, Blake Shelton, Yankee sportscaster John Sterling, former Yankee and musician Bernie Williams, Lee Ann Womack, Irving Burgie and Madi Diaz. Albert Hammond, a lifelong resident of Gibraltar, will be inducted by the Chief Minister, the Honorable Peter Caruana, QC. The event was once again produced by Phil Ramone.
Desmond Child has been one of the most successful, versatile songwriters in the music business for more than three decades. After starring in the 1970s group Desmond Child & Rouge, he focused on songwriting, his breakthrough coming in 1978 with Kisss hit I Was Made For Loving You. His list of songwriting credits reads like a Whos Who of pop and rock royalty, and Child has demonstrated a remarkable knack for writing in all pop genres. This has included a very diverse mix over the years, with hits for Aerosmith, Ricky Martin, Bon Jovi, Joan Jett, Michael Bolton, Hanson, Hilary Duff, LeAnn Rimes, Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Jesse McCartney, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Cher, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Robbie Williams, Iggy Pop and Ronnie Spector, among many others. His own solo album, Discipline, featured the Top 40 hit, Love on a Rooftop. True to his Cuban-American heritage, Child has enjoyed success in the Latin music field, co-producing and/or co-writing such mega smashes as Ricky Martins #1 worldwide hits Livin La Vida Loca and the 1998 World Cup Theme, The Cup Of Life, which was #1 in 20 countries. He continued to collaborate with Martin on She Bangs and Nobody Wants to be Lonely from Martins Sound Loaded album, also released featuring Christina Aguilera dueting with Ricky Martin, in both Spanish and English versions. In addition, Child co-wrote and co-produced Livin La Vida Loca as the finale in the film Shrek 2. Among his many collaborations, he co-wrote the Grammy award-winning Crazy and Dude Looks Like A Lady for Aerosmith, Livin On A Prayer and You Give Love A Bad Name for Bon Jovi, and Hansons Weird from their multi-platinum CD, Middle of Nowhere.
Englands Albert Hammond has achieved tremendous success on both sides of the Atlantic. With chief collaborator Mike Hazelwood, he wrote Gimme Dat Ding, a novelty hit for The Pipkins in 1970, and It Never Rains In Southern California, which established Hammond himself as a recording star two years later. By the end of the 1970s, Hammond was one of the busiest men in music, maintaining two full-fledged recording careers; not only his string of English-language hit singles and albums, but also a late-70s series of releases aimed at Spanish-speaking audiences, which gave him a new round of hits, and a songwriting career that included Starships Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now, and Chicagos I Dont Wanna Live Without Your Love, in collaboration with Diane Warren, and a monster hit for Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias in To All the Girls Ive Loved Before, in collaboration with Hal David. Hammonds songs have been recorded by many critically acclaimed artists such as José Carreras, Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker, Chris de Burgh, Neil Diamond, Céline Dion, Art Garfunkel, The Hollies, Whitney Houston, Julio Iglesias, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis, Roy Orbison, José Luis Rodriguez, Diana Ross, Leo Sayer, Starship and Tina Turner. Their hits with Hammonds songs include One Moment In Time, Dont Turn Around, Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now, When I Need You, The Air That I Breathe and 99 Miles From L.A, to mention just a few. He has also co-produced Julio Iglesias, Lani Hall (on her Grammy winning LP, Es Facil Amar which contains several Hammond tunes), and José Luis Rodriguez, among others. In the Latin world, his hits have included Echame A Mi La Culpa, Eres Toda Una Mujer, and Espinita.
Although country music icon Loretta Lynn came out of a coal mining community in Kentucky, she wrote songs that everyone could relate to (including The White Stripes Jack White, who produced her acclaimed 2004 comeback album Van Lear Rose). Foremost among them, of course, was the autobiographical Coal Miners Daughter, a No. 1 country hit in 1970 that became the title of her 1978 autobiography and was later made into an Oscar-winning biopic. The song is also in the Grammy Hall of Fame, along with other hits like You Aint Woman Enough (to Take My Man) and Dont Come Home A-Drinkin (With Lovin on Your Mind), all of which paved the way for her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The immense popularity of these songs, as well as other straight-shooting hits like Your Squaw Is on the Warpath, Women of the World (Leave My World Alone), and Youre Looking at Country, culminated in 1972 when Lynn won the second of her Best Female Vocalist awards from the Country Music Association, and when she became the first woman to win the CMAs most prestigious award, Entertainer of the Year. Collaborations include her dear friend, Conway Twitty (After the Fire Is Gone, Lead Me On, As Soon As I Hang up the Phone, and Feelins), and Loretta won her first Vocal Duo of the Year award in 1972 with Conway, a title the team held through 1976. By the time her hit I Lie topped the charts in 1982, Lynn could count fifty-two Top 10 hits and sixteen #1s.
Distinguished composer and lyricist, Alan Menken possesses the innate ability to translate guileless wonder and adventure into soaring musical triumphs. The creative force behind timeless songs synonymous with both chart-topping success and motion picture magic, Menkens compositions include the Oscar-winning Under the Sea, from Disneys The Little Mermaid, A Whole New World from Aladdin, the title song from Beauty and the Beast and Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas. Along with his longtime collaborator, the esteemed late playwright and lyricist Howard Ashman, Menken transformed the 1960 film Little Shop of Horrors into an off-Broadway phenomenon, which would later become a major motion picture. Other collaborators have included Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, David Zippel, Lynn Ahrens and Glenn Slater. Most recently he composed the original score and earned three Oscar nominations for Disneys Enchanted. An alumnus of the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Alan Menken has earned eight Oscars, seven Golden Globe and ten Grammy awards.
His hit group The Lovin Spoonful played a major role in the mid-60s rock revolution, but what leader, singer and songwriter John Sebastian had in mind was actually a counter-revolution. His songs were deeply rooted in folk, blues and jug band traditions. The Lovin Spoonful succeeded like nobody before or since, putting their first seven singles into the Top 10. This was unprecedented, and utterly unthinkable at the height of Beatlemania. Sebastian wrote or co-wrote the Spoonfuls great hits, including Do You Believe in Magic, You Didnt Have to Be So Nice, Daydream and Summer In The City. As a solo artist, Sebastian started writing for film, including Francis Ford Coppolas Youre A Big Boy Now and Woody Allens Whats Up Tiger Lily, but when producers of a TV show called Welcome Back Kotter commissioned a theme song in 1976, Sebastians Welcome Back became a chart-topping solo record. In 2000, John Sebastian was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. He is the subject of the recent PBS special Do You Believe In Magic: The Music of John Sebastian, and recently recorded an album of duets with David Grisman. He has also lent his music in support of social, environmental and animal rights causes. Recently he joined a delegation of songwriters (including Lamont Dozier, Allen and Marilyn Bergman, and Mike Stoller) in Washington, DC to campaign on behalf of the rights of music creators.
The stars came out last year for the 38th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards event at the Marriott Marquis Grand Ballroom. Among the honorees were Dolly Parton and John Legend, along with presenters and performers that included Kanye West, Clive Davis and Neil Sedaka. Recent induction galas have featured a constellation of stars including Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Peter, Paul and Mary, Smokey Robinson, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Kris Kristofferson, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, and Garth Brooks.
About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. Over the course of the past 39 years, some key Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees have included John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Steve Cropper, Richard and Robert Sherman, Bill Withers, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison and Cy Coleman among many, many others. The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond.
Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fames Virtual Museum at songhall.org.
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1000 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, (212) 573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go towards the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.