The 43rd Annual Induction Ceremony and Awards Presentation of the Songwriters Hall of Fame was held at New York City’s Marriott Marquis on Thursday, June 14th. Hosted by legendary songwriter, ASCAP Board member and Songwriter Hall of Fame Chairman Jimmy Webb, the evening inducted a new class of songwriters who mostly rose to prominence in the 1970’s and whose work continues to impact the musical culture.
ASCAP members honored this year included inductees Detroit rocker Bob Seger, Canadian troubadour Gordon Lightfoot (SOCAN), Nashville hitmaker Don Schlitz and the Broadway team of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, best known for writing the 1960 hit musical The Fantasticks. Additionally, Rondor music’s Lance Freed was presented the Abe Olman Publisher Award and R&B superstar Ne-Yo received the Hal David Starlight Award.
A highlight of the ceremony each year are the by turns poignant and powerful performances by the inductees as well as special guests who perform in their honor. This year provided a generous amount of musical thrills. Bob Seger performed his stirring ballad "Turn the Page," followed by ASCAP Board member Valerie Simpson’s performance of Seger’s "We’ve Got Tonight." Kenny Rogers, on hand to induct Don Schlitz, performed Schlitz’s classic Grammy Award-winning song "The Gambler," which was a big hit for Rogers. Then, Schlitz performed his own song, "When You Say Nothing At All."
Steve Miller delivered a spot-on version of "Sundown," during his induction of Gordon Lightfoot. Then Lightfoot performed "If You Could Read My Mind." Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson performed in honor of Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt by singing a soaring rendition of "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks. ASCAP member Emmylou Harris performed Eric Clapton’s touching "Tears in Heaven" in honor of Lance Freed. Singing collective Take 6 joined 60’s soul icon Ben E. King on his song "Stand by Me," which was honored with the Towering Song.
Representing the present and future of contemporary music, R&B balladeer Ne-Yo wooed the audience with a performance of his song "So Sick."