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Songwriters Hall Of Fame 2012 Inductees

Originally Posted: May 14, 2012


Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future. (Courtesy Photo: R&C)

Southampton - Musical geniuses Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Seger, Don Schlitz, Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones and Jim Steinman will become the newest members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization's 43rd Annual Induction and Awards Dinner. The star-studded event is slated for Thursday, June 14 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon.

"Each of our 2012 inductees has created a unique range of extraordinary contributions, a body of work that has resonated with audiences around the world, and greatly enriched our global culture," said SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. "We are looking forward to celebrating their craft and careers at our Annual Awards Gala."

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 music community outreach grooms the next generation of troubadours.

Gordon Lightfoot

Performing songwriter Gordon Lightfoot is credited for helping to define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He is the author and voice of many timeless songs including "Early Morning Rain," "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," "Sundown," "If You Could Read My Mind," "Carefree Highway," "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald," "Beautiful," "Ribbon Of Darkness," "Rainy Day People," "That's What You Get For Lovin' Me," "Did She Mention My Name," "I'm Not Sayin' That I Love You," "Race Among The Ruins," "Softly," "Song For A Winter's Night," and "Summer Side Of Life." Many of Lightfoot's albums have achieved gold and multi-platinum status internationally and his songs have been recorded by some of the world's most renowned artists including Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jane's Addiction, Richie Havens, Glen Campbell, Toby Keith, Anne Murray, Nana Mouskouri and George Hamilton IV. He has received five Grammy nominations and 17 Juno Awards in his native Canada and was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, among his many other distinctions. Lightfoot is slated to release his first record since 1994 in the spring of 2012.

Bob Seger

Performing songwriter Bob Seger is universally acknowledged by fans and musicians as one of the defining voices of American music. Some of the classic songs he has penned include, "Against The Wind," "Turn The Page," "Night Moves," "Hollywood Nights," "Rock And Roll Never Forgets," "Katmandu," "Mainstreet," "Still The Same," "We've Got Tonight," "The Fire Down Below," "Like A Rock," and "Beautiful Loser," to name a few. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Metallica, Kid Rock, Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Cher, Johnny Hallyday, Martina McBride, Waylon Jennings, Dottie West, The Pointer Sisters, Barry Manilow, Brooks & Dunn, Conway Twitty and Keb' Mo'. Seger and his Silver Bullet Band have sold more than 51 million records worldwide, with 12 platinum and seven multi-platinum RIAA-certified album sales awards. Seger holds the distinction for the #1 Catalog Album of the Decade (2000-2010) for his Greatest Hits, which has sold more than nine million copies in the U.S. to date, posting an unbroken 17-year streak on Billboard's Top 200 Albums and Catalog Albums charts. In 1981 Seger won a Grammy for his song "Against The Wind" in the Best Rock Performance by a Group or Duo category. In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Don Schlitz

Songwriter Don Schlitz's first recorded song "The Gambler," sung by Kenny Rogers, won him the 1978 Grammy for Country Song of the Year. Randy Travis' "Forever And Ever, Amen" earned him the same award in 1988. His songbook includes 24 #1 hits, with such country standards as: "On The Other Hand," "I Feel Lucky," "Houston Solution," "One Promise Too Late," "He Thinks He'll Keep Her," "40 Hour Week (For A Livin')," "Rockin' With The Rhythm Of The Rain," "When You Say Nothing At All," "Deeper Than The Holler," "Learning To Live Again," and "Strong Enough To Bend." His songs have been sung by Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Keith Whitley, Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tanya Tucker, The Judds and many others. In 2001 he wrote the songs for the Broadway show, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." This four-time ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993 and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Schlitz has won three CMA Song of the Year Awards and two ACM Song of Year Awards. Schlitz received the ASCAP Creative Achievement Award in 2007 and in 2010 was honored with the Academy of Country Music's Poet's Award for Lifetime Achievement in Songwriting.

Harvey Schmidt And Tom Jones

Composer Harvey Schmidt and lyricist Tom Jones are the legendary writing team best known for shaping the American musical landscape with their 1960 hit, "The Fantasticks." The show, which was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in 1991, is the longest running musical in history. Its best known song "Try To Remember," has been recorded by hundreds of artists over the decades including Ed Ames, Harry Belafonte, Barbra Streisand and Placido Domingo. "Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "They Were You" are also among the musical's most recognized songs, for which Schmidt composed and Jones crafted the lyrics. In 1963 they wrote the Broadway show "110 in the Shade," which earned the duo a Tony Award nomination for Best Composer and Lyricist. "I DO! I DO!," their two-character Broadway musical followed in 1967, also earning them a Tony Award nomination for Best Composer and Lyricist. In 1998, the duo was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. Other awards and honors include an Obie Award, induction into the Broadway Hall of Fame, the ASCAP Richard Rodgers Award, and their "stars" added to the Off-Broadway Walk of Fame outside the Lucille Lortel Theatre in NYC.

Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman began his writing career in theatre with Joseph Papp and the NY Shakespeare Festival in 1969, after Papp was stunned by "Dream Engine," a sensational rock opera Steinman wrote and starred in at Amherst College. Steinman moved to recording in 1977 when he wrote every song on the legendary "Bat Out of Hell" album sung by Meat Loaf, selling 44 million copies. In 1993 Steinman wrote and produced "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell," which sold 26 million copies. Overall, Steinman's repertoire has sold more than 190 million records. Top #1 songs include "Total Eclipse Of The Heart," "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All," "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," "I'd Do Anything For Love But I Won't Do That" and "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad." His "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" won the 1997 BMI Song Of The Year Award. The same year, he earned a Grammy for Album Of The Year for his work as producer for Celine Dion's "Falling Into You." Moving back to theatre, Steinman wrote the music for "Tanz Der Vampyr," now in its 16th year selling out in Europe. He is currently writing book, music and lyrics for the musical "Bat Out Of Hell" for Imminent Production and "Nutcracked," a heavy metal version of "The Nutcracker" with lyrics set to a Tchaikovsky score. He also wrote the lyrics for the musical theater production "Whistle Down the Wind," with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as music for films such as "Footloose," "Streets of Fire," "The Shadow" and "Mask of Zorro."

Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award

Bette Midler will be the 2012 recipient of the esteemed Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award. Midler is the legendary multi-Grammy award-winning artist who for more than 40 years has captivated audiences as the "Divine Miss M" on stages around the world. As an award winning actress, producer and comedian, Midler is still going strong as one of the most talented individuals in entertainment.

"Bette Midler captivated the world early in her long career with her stylish presentation and unmistakable voice, making each song her own, and turning them into pure gold," commented SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. "It will be our great pleasure to honor her at our Annual Awards Gala with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award."

The Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award honors industry veterans who are acknowledged as pioneers in their craft, whose body of work over time has been substantial, enduring and influential, and whose success and contributions over a lifetime have inspired the music community. Past awardees include Peter, Paul & Mary, Les Paul, Patti LaBelle, Dick Clark, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Neil Diamond, Berry Gordy, Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Nat King Cole, Neil Sedaka and Quincy Jones.

After Midler was discovered by Ahmet M. Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records, she recorded her debut album, "The Divine Miss M" in 1972, a nod to the self-anointed trademark persona audiences fell in love with during her early career performing songs like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," and "Superstar" at the famed Continental Baths in New York City. "The Divine Miss M" went Platinum and hit #9 on Billboard's Top 200 Chart earning her a Grammy® for Best New Artist in 1973.

Since her debut album, Midler has released 14 albums, headlined 19 live tours and has sold more than 30 million records worldwide winning numerous awards including a special Tony Award for contribution to Broadway with Clams on the Half Shell Revue in 1973.

In 1979, Midler made her film debut portraying rock n' roll singer Janis Joplin in "The Rose," which earned her the Golden Globe for Best Actress, an Academy Award nomination, and Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance in 1981. "The Rose" was Midler's first Gold single with the album reaching Double Platinum. It held the #1 position on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart for five consecutive weeks and peeked at #3 on the Hot 100.

In 1988 Midler starred in "Beaches," and received her third Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1990 for the accompanying soundtrack, which remains Midler's all-time bestselling album reaching #2 on Billboard's Album Chart with U.S. sales of four million copies. It featured the hit "Wind Beneath My Wings," which went to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 and achieved Platinum status. Her follow up "Some People's Lives" album in 1990, featured "From A Distance," the single earned her a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991 and reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart and peaked at #2 on Hot 100.

Midler garnered her second Best Actress Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for Mark Rydell's "For The Boys" in 1991. Additional film credits include "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "Ruthless People," "Big Business," "Scene's From a Mall," "Hocus Pocus," "The First Wives Club," "The Stepford Wives," "Then She Found Me," and "The Women."

In addition to her work on stage and in films, Midler made her mark on television with the Emmy Award-winning CBS special "Ol' Red Hair is Back," and two HBO concerts, "Live at Last" and "Art or Bust." HBO's concert film "Diva Las Vegas," won an Emmy Award for her performance. In 1992, Midler won a Golden Globe and a National Board of Review Award for her performance in the television adaptation of the musical "Gypsy."

In January 2009 she concluded her critically acclaimed Vegas extravaganza "The Showgirl Must Go On" at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with more than 200 performances seen by over half-million people in two years. Midler produced the Tony Award-winning musical "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert" on Broadway in March 2011 and recently finished filming "Parental Guidance," a new comedy co-starring Billy Crystal set to be released in theaters in late 2012.

The 2012 Towering Song Award will be presented to "Stand By Me," written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Ben E. King, and King will receive the Towering Performance Award. Lance Freed will be awarded the prestigious Abe Olman Publisher Award at the 43rd Annual Induction and Awards Dinner Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman Jimmy Webb announced.

The Towering Song Award is presented to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years. Previous Towering Songs have included "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The Towering Performance Award is given in recognition of one-of-a-kind performances by one-of-a-kind singers. Often called "songwriter's singers," they have recorded outstanding and unforgettable interpretations of songs that have become iconic standards. Past recipients include Tony Bennett for "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" and Andy Williams for "Moon River."

"Stand By Me" was written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Ben E. King, and originally recorded by King with Leiber & Stoller producing. King's record went to #1 on the R&B Charts in 1961 and was a Top 10 hit on the U.S. pop charts twice: in 1961, and again in 1986 when used as the theme song for the movie, "Stand By Me." It has over 400 recorded versions, including hits by Earl Grant, Spyder Turner, David & Jimmy Ruffin, John Lennon, Mickey Gilley, Maurice White, 4 The Cause, and Prince Royce, and was sampled on Sean Kingston's #1 hit "Beautiful Girls," making it the song to have charted the most times on Billboard's Hot 100. "Stand By Me" received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and is also on the top of the lists of Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time," RIAA's "Songs of the Century," and is in the top five of BMI's most-performed songs of the 20th century. It is a favorite of major acts: U2 has performed it live with Bruce Springsteen; and Lady Gaga, with Sting. A 2008 music video featuring "Stand By Me" performed by street musicians from around the world has been viewed on YouTube over 40 million times. Its success launched a foundation called Playing For Change that builds music schools around the globe.

Leiber and Stoller were inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985. They were honored for their legendary catalog that includes Elvis Presley hits "Hound Dog" and "Love Me," The Coasters' "Yakety Yak" and "Charlie Brown," and a host of other career defining standards, including "Kansas City," "On Broadway," and Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is."

As a lead singer of The Drifters and as a famed solo artist, King achieved a #1 hit with "Stand By Me," and in his long career he has earned 12 Top 10 hits and 25 Top 40 hits, from 1959 to 1986.

The Abe Olman Publisher Award, named after one of the SHOF's esteemed founders, goes to music publishers who have had a substantial number of songs that have become world-renowned and have furthered the careers and successes of many songwriters. As the son of the late famed DJ Alan Freed, music has always been a part of Lance Freed's life; mentoring writers like Will Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Leo Sayer, Melissa Etheridge, Peter Allen, Gerry Goffin, and Bryan Adams throughout his career. Since 1980, Freed has been president of Rondor Music International and has led the core creative team for over 35 years to create an unparalleled catalog of over 80,000 songs. Under Freed's leadership, Rondor Music International has received numerous awards, including Song of the Year Grammys awarded to "From A Distance," "Tears In Heaven" and "My Heart Will Go On," and several Academy Awards for Best Song including "Shaft," "Arthur's Theme" and "My Heart Will Go On."

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. There are fewer than 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The list includes Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, Albert Hammond, Desmond Child, Paul Williams, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Richard and Robert Sherman, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Curtis Mayfield, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell and Leonard Cohen among many others.

Ticket Information
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,000 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, 212-573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.


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