ASCAP Legends Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye, Tom Petty, Chic's Bernard Edwards to Be Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) has announced that it will induct four monumental ASCAP talents to its ranks this year: Elvis Costello, Marvin GayeTom Petty and Bernard Edwards of Chic. 

Each of these legends has left an indelible mark on the world with his music, and continues to inspire countless songwriters. Said SHOF Co-Chairs Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff: “The 2016 roster of SHOF 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.” 

Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame 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.


Elvis Costello
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. Costello won the ASCAP Founders Award in 2003.

Marvin Gaye
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
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.

Bernard Edwards
Bernard Edwards formed a life-long friendship and musical partnership with Nile Rodgers 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 Edwards and Rodgers 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 Edwards and Rodgers 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 Edwards and Rodgers 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 Edwards and Rodgers 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.


Read the full SHOF inductees announcement here

Elvis Costello<br>Photo by Mary McCartney

Elvis Costello
Photo by Mary McCartney

Bernard Edwards (r) & Nile Rodgers<br>Photo courtesy of NileRodgersProd

Bernard Edwards (r) & Nile Rodgers
Photo courtesy of NileRodgersProd

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

Tom Petty

Tom Petty