Four ASCAP Greats to Be Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame
February 6, 2018
On February 6, 2018 the Songwriters Hall of Fame announced that ASCAP greats Ronald Bell (of Kool & The Gang), Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson and John Mellencamp will join its hallowed ranks in 2018. The four songwriting legends will be inducted at the 49th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner, slated for June 14 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
Jermaine Dupri wrote his first song “Single” at the young age of 15, then his first platinum selling single a mere four years later with the mega hit “Jump” (Kriss Kross) and he hasn’t stopped writing hits since. Dupri’s songwriting accomplishments have continued for over two decades with over 30 number one hits including “My Boo” (Usher featuring Alicia Keyes), “Nice & Slow” (Usher), “Don’t Forget About Us” (Mariah Carey), “Grillz” (Nelly featuring Paul Wall), “Confessions Part II” (Usher), “Burn” (Usher), “You Got It Bad” (Usher), “The First Night” (Monica), “Jump” (Kriss Kross) and “We Belong Together” (Mariah Carey). His songwriting transcends across all genres of music, with hits “Shake It Off” (Mariah Carey) and “Money Ain't a Thang” (Jermaine Dupri feat JAY-Z), “Give it 2 U” (Da Brat), “Just Kicking It” (Xscape) and “Where the Party At” (Jagged Edge).
The most iconic singers/rappers of the past quarter-century have recorded his songs: Usher, Aretha Franklin, The Notorious B.I.G., Ludacris, Bow Wow, Aaliyah, 3LW, Destiny’s Child, 112, Anthony Hamilton, Nelly, Fabulous, Lil John, Alicia Keyes, Master P, Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Xscape, Run DMC, Isley Brothers, Mase, TLC, New Edition, Tamia, Monica, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey, among others. He has received countless honors throughout his career, including seven ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards, the ASCAP Golden Note and, most recently, the ASCAP Founders Award. Now in his third decade of writing and producing songs, GRAMMY award-winning Jermaine Dupri shows no signs of slowing down as he continue to pen his way to the top.
Recently inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Alan Jackson’s membership among country music’s all-time greats is the latest in a long line of career-defining accolades that include three CMA Entertainer of the Year honors, more than 25 years of membership in the Grand Ole Opry, a 2016 Billboard ranking as one of the Top 10 Country Artists of All-Time, induction to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the ASCAP Heritage Award as the most-performed country songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years.
Jackson is one of the most successful and respected singer-songwriters in music. He is in the elite company of Paul McCartney and John Lennon among songwriters who’ve written more than 20 songs that they’ve recorded and taken to the top of the charts. Beginning with his first hit, “Here in the Real World,” Jackson’s pen has given us some of country music’s most-memorable songs of the past 30 years –the immediately-recognized “Chattahoochee,” the haunting “Midnight in Montgomery,” the touching “Remember When,” the autobiographical “Livin’ On Love,” “Drive,” and “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and the inspired “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” Jackson is one of the best-selling artists since the inception of SoundScan, ranking alongside the likes of Eminem and Metallica. He’s also the man behind one of Nashville’s most-popular new tourist stops, AJ’s Good Time Bar, a four-story honky-tonk in the heart of downtown (along a stretch of Broadway known as the “Honky Tonk Highway”) featuring daily live music and a rooftop view of Music City.
The man from rural Newnan, GA has sold nearly 60-million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 best-selling male vocalists of all-time in all genres. He has released more than 60 singles – registering 50 Top Ten hits and 35 #1s (including 26 Billboard chart-toppers). He has earned more than 150 music industry awards – including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, a pair of GRAMMY’s and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards.
Ronald Bell of Kool and the Gang
In 1964, Ronald Bell and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell and his brother, joined George Brown and other Jersey City neighborhood friends to create a unique musical blend of jazz, soul and funk. After performing for five years under various monikers, Kool & The Gang officially launched in 1969 with the release of their self-titled debut album, which was an introduction to their signature sound. The band’s stellar reputation grew with each album, but 1973’s gold disc “Wild & Peaceful” took Kool & The Gang to another level, spurred by the immortal party anthems “Funky Stuff,” “Hollywood Swinging” and the platinum smash “Jungle Boogie.” The 1970’s brought hits like “Higher Plane,” the classic “Summer Madness” (featured on the GRAMMY-winning movie soundtrack Rocky) and “Open Sesame,” which was featured on the top-selling movie soundtrack of all-time, Saturday Night Fever, earned the group a GRAMMY.
In 1979, the group unveiled a smooth new sound with Ladies Night, their first platinum album, produced by the legendary pop/jazz musician and mentor Eumir Deodato, which heralded an unprecedented decade of mainstream domination, creativity, and innovation.
Kool & The Gang's iconic songs, including “Celebration,” which was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame and remains de rigueur at joyous occasions worldwide, have earned two GRAMMY Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits, 31 gold and platinum awards, 5 American Music Awards, and numerous Grammy nominations. Marking their 50th anniversary this year, they were honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award and a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame and continue to tour the world.
John Mellencamp’s career in music, spanning more than 35 years, has seen him transition from pop star to one of the most highly respected singer/songwriters of a generation. He is an authentic voice of American music and master storyteller with a commitment to creating traditional rock & roll, bittersweet songs of happiness and melancholia, inequality and fervent political dissent. With dozens of hits to his credit, the singer has taken on the plight of the family farmer, issues with authority figures and, of course, his own musings on relationships. Throughout his prolific career, John Mellencamp has written more than twenty Top 40 hits, Hits like "Jack and Diane," "Small Town," "Crumblin Down," "The Authority Song," "Rain on the Scarecrow," "Lonely Ol Night," "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.," "Paper In Fire," "Check It Out," "Pink Houses," "Pop Singer" and "Jackie Brown." These iconic American songs have played an important role in defining Midwestern music and developing the rock genre.
Mellencamp is incredibly acclaimed; he is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a GRAMMY® winner, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, The ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award and Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and more recently, the ASCAP Founders Award, the top honor assigned by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He is also one of the most successful live concert performers in the world. The social activism reflected in his songs helped catalyze Farm Aid, the concert series and organization that has addressed the struggle of American family farmers for more than 25 years.
His latest song, “Easy Target” offers a raspy diagnosis of America's current political ailments. John wrote the title song for the 2017 film, The Yellow Birds, an American war film directed by Alexandre Moors and based on the novel The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. The film debuted at Tribeca Film Festival and aired on the Nat Geo Channel.
John continues to focus on another facet of his artistic expression: painting. His style has progressed over the years as evidenced by several museum shows and published portfolios, and in recent years, he has increased his output by completing over 100 new works. He was also involved with an extraordinary collaboration for The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a musical with music and lyrics by John Mellencamp, a libretto by author Stephen King and production by T Bone Burnett.
Click here to read the official press release about this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees.