Annie Lennox & The Isley Brothers to Be Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

January 17, 2020

The Songwriters Hall of Fame has chosen to induct PRS/ASCAP synth-pop icon Annie Lennox (for her work in The Eurythmics) and the genre-bending R&B-soul-funk-rock combo The Isley Brothers (ASCAP members Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley and Chris Jasper) for its 2020 class! 

SHOF Chairman Nile Rodgers said, “The first thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the second thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the third thing you need to know is it’s about the song. I am very proud that we are recognizing some of the culturally most important songwriters of all time and that the 2020 slate of inductees represents diversity and unity across genres, ethnicity and gender, writers who have enriched our lives and in their time literally transformed music and helped make it what it is today.”

Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future. In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of troubadours. To qualify for induction, a songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song.

The induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 11 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Read more about ASCAP's inductees and listen to some of their greatest songs below.

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Annie Lennox with ASCAP's Loretta Muñoz (l) and Jennifer Harmon

ABOUT ANNIE LENNOX

With her '80s British pop duo Eurythmics, Annie Lennox (along with Dave Stewart) achieved global success with their album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) for which the title track became a worldwide hit topping the charts in numerous countries including the US. The duo went on to release a string of hit singles and albums before they went their own ways in 1990. Both Lennox spent the next nine years focusing on her solo career. Eurythmics reunited in 1999 to record their ninth album, Peace, and once again in 2005 to release their single “I’ve Got a Life,” which also appeared on the new Eurythmics compilation album, Ultimate Collection. The duo won an MTV Music Video Award for Best New Artist in 1984, a GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1987, a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 1999, and were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They were also nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

Lennox’s solo career began with the release of her solo debut album, Diva, which includes several hit songs like “Why” and “Walking on Broken Glass.” Her 1995 album, Medusa, includes “No More I Love You’s” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” She has released six solo studio albums and a compilation album entitled The Annie Lennox Collection in 2009. Over the decades, Annie Lennox has received numerous accolades in recognition of her contribution to the music business, including 8 BRIT Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement), 4 Ivor Novello Awards, 3 MTV Awards, 4 GRAMMY Awards, 26 ASCAP Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Into the West,” written for the soundtrack to the film The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. She was also named one of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone. Lennox has been awarded fellowships from some of the world’s most prestigious music institutions, including The British Academy of Songwriters, The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Berklee College of Music, and The Musicians Company.

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The Isley Brothers

ABOUT THE ISLEY BROTHERS

The Isley Brothers started as a vocal trio consisting of brothers O’Kelly Isley Jr, Rudolph Isley and Ronald Isley. First formed in the early ’50s, the Isley Brothers have enjoyed one of the longest, most influential and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music. Over the course of more than a half-century of performing, the group’s distinguished history spans not only two generations of Isley siblings, but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music’s transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. The Isley Brothers have had over 15 #1 singles in the United States Billboard charts, 16 of their albums charted in the Top 40 and 13 albums have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the RIAA.

After moving from Cincinnati, Ohio to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group first came to national prominence in 1959 with their fourth single “Shout,” written by the three brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded for a variety of labels, including the Top 20 single, “Twist and Shout” and the Motown single “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, “It’s Your Thing” in 1969 on their own label, T-Neck Records.

Influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk as well as pop balladry. Younger brothers Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley and Rudolph’s brother-in-law, Chris Jasper, joined the group in 1973. The Isleys scored a massive hit with their rock-funk fusion cover of their own earlier single “Who’s That Lady” retitled “That Lady, Pt. 1.” The album 3 + 3 also proved highly successful, as did 1975’s The Heat Is On, which spawned the smash “Fight the Power, Pt. 1.” For the next decade, they recorded top-selling albums, including Between the Sheets and had several hit singles. Towards the end of the decade they frequently topped the R&B charts with singles like “The Pride,” “Take Me to the Next Phase, Pt. 1,” “I Wanna Be With You, Pt. 1” and “Don’t Say Goodnight.”

Isley/Jasper/Isley was formed as a splinter group of The Isley Brothers in 1984 by Chris Jasper, Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley, releasing three albums including Caravan of Love, which featured the #1 out-of-the-box title hit, written and sung by Jasper and subsequently covered by English recording group, the Housemartins, who made “Caravan” an international #1 pop hit. The group disbanded in 1987.

After the break-up, Jasper continued as a solo artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer, forming his own independent record label, Gold City Records. Ernie teamed up with Ronald Isley and they have continued to record and tour as the Isley Brothers. They have achieved mainstream success in the intervening decades with spots on the pop and R&B charts including Dreamworks' 
first #1 record, “Body Kiss.” They most recently collaborated with Carlos Santana on 2017’s "Power of Peace” and are currently on a nationwide tour celebrating the Isley Brothers 60th Anniversary.

Ronald became a solo artist while keeping the Isley Brothers’ name and continued to record platinum albums. Ernie and Marvin later reunited with their brother Ronald until Marvin became ill. Marvin passed away in 2010. Ronald and Ernie are currently on a nationwide tour celebrating “Shout’s" 60th anniversary!

The Isley Brothers, including Chris Jasper, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Two of the Isley Brothers' songs have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Their music has been sampled widely and featured in a number of hip-hop’s most important songs, including those by Notorious B.I.G., Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller, Ludacris, etc.

O’Kelly Isley Jr. died from a heart attack in 1986. Rudolph Isley retired in 1986 and went into ministry with his wife Elaine.

+See all of this year's ASCAP nominees for the Songwriters Hall of Fame