SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR
2009 AWARDS CEREMONY EVENT TO INDUCT JON BON JOVI AND RICHIE SAMBORA; FELIX CAVALIERI AND EDDIE BRIGATI (THE YOUNG RASCALS); ROGER COOK AND ROGER GREENAWAY; CROSBY, STILLS & NASH; GALT MACDERMOT, JAMES RADO AND GEROME RAGNI; AND STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
New York, N.Y. - February 24, 2009 - This year, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) celebrates 40 years of recognizing the work and lives of enduring composers and lyricists who create popular music around the world. Hal David, SHOF Chairman/CEO, announced today the 2009 Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards inductees will be Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora; Felix Cavalieri and Eddie Brigati (The Young Rascals ); Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Galt MacDermot, James Rado and Gerome Ragni (deceased); and Stephen Schwartz. The induction and awards dinner is scheduled for Thursday, June 18 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Special award honorees will be announced at a later date.
"The Songwriters Hall of Fame has much to celebrate every year, but this one is especially significant," commented Chairman/CEO and acclaimed lyricist Hal David. "I can think of no better way to mark our 40th anniversary than by inducting this group of eminent songwriters whose extraordinary accomplishments have made an indelible impression on the world's musical culture."
Jon Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora:
As songwriters, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, individually and as collaborators, are responsible for some of popular music's biggest anthems over the last twenty-five years. Since Bon Jovi's eponymous album release in 1984, their songs have propelled their albums and tours to stratospheric success with precision consistency. From rock songs ("You Give Love A Bad Name," "Living On A Prayer," "It's My Life," "Who Says You Can't Go Home,") to ballads ("Bed of Roses," "I'll Be There For You," "Always,"), to outlaw-themed anthems ("Wanted Dead or Alive," "Blaze of Glory"), the list of hits penned by the duo reads like a timeline of popular culture. Solid song-craft is heralded as one of the keys to Bon Jovi's success with an arsenal of All-American songs that have repeatedly found a reception on a global stage. Bon Jovi has sold over 120 million records worldwide and charted seven #1 singles and countless Top Ten hits.
Felix Cavaliere/ Eddie Brigati (The Young Rascals):
In 1965, Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati left the band they were in at the time, Joey Dee & The Starlighters, and formed the "Young Rascals." From 1965 through 1969, with the Young Rascals, released some of the most defining songs of that era, penned by Cavalieri and Brigati. They were the paragons of "blue-eyed soul," building their sound around Felix Cavaliere's Hammond B-3 organ and the soulful lead vocals of Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati. Their song "Groovin'," a soulful reverie about "groovin' on a sunny afternoon," shot to #1 in the spring of 1967. By the end of the year, the Rascals were venturing into psychedelia with effects-laden songs like "It's Wonderful" (#20). They reverted to their original name, the Rascals, with the release of "A Beautiful Morning" in 1968. While their hits included "Good Lovin'," "Groovin'," "A Girl Like You," and "A Beautiful Morning," their biggest hit, "People Got to Be Free," written in reaction to the assassinations that year of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., rose to #1 on the charts.
Roger Cook/Roger Greenaway:
One of Britain's most prolific songwriting teams, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway first came to prominence when the Fortunes recorded their composition "You've Got Your Troubles," a Top Ten smash in both the U.S. and U.K. The Fortunes released their follow-up hit, "This Golden Ring," and Gary Lewis & the Playboys scored an American Top Ten hit with "Green Grass," both Cook-Greenaway creations. David & Jonathan, Cook and Greenaway's alter ego, landed their biggest U.K. hit that summer with the Top Ten "Lovers of the World Unite," and the two subsequently began writing advertising jingles, most notably for Coca-Cola. In late 1967, Gene Pitney scored a Top Five U.K. hit with "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart." In 1970, Cook and Greenaway wrote a Top Ten U.S. and U.K. hit for White Plains with "My Baby Loves Lovin'" and their "Home Lovin' Man" was also a U.K. hit for crooner Andy Williams. In late 1971, the pair's iconic Coke jingle was adapted into the pop song "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" and became a hit for both the Hillside Singers and the New Seekers; the latter's version became the pair's first U.K. chart-topper as demand for their ad jingles skyrocketed. The Congregation had a U.K. hit in 1971 with a cover of David & Jonathan's "Softly Whispering I Love You." Other Cook and Greenaway hits include "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" with the Hollies, "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" with Whistling Jack Smith and "Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again" with the Fortunes.
Crosby, Stills & Nash:
The Byrds' David Crosby, Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills and the Hollies' Graham Nash joined forces as rock's most important vocal "supergroup" in 1968. One of the most potent, enduring, original and socially conscious songwriting teams of our time, Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) captivated the world with their inspired songwriting, peerless three-part harmonies and brilliant musicianship for over three decades. The only American band of the original Woodstock era to have a societal impact rivaling that of the Beatles, CSN's dynamic songwriting has been called "the voice of an entire generation." In 1969, the songwriting trio released their stunning debut album, Crosby, Stills & Nash. Along with "Helplessly Hoping," Nash's "Marrakesh Express," Stills' "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," and Crosby's "Guinnevere," the album went straight to number one on the charts. In 1977 the trio released CSN. The disc's "Just A Song Before I Go" became their first multi-platinum single, and their highest-charting track, reaching #7 on Billboard's Hot 100. The follow-up, 1982's Daylight Again, added two more hits to the CSN songbook, Stills' "Southern Cross" and Nash's "Wasted On The Way." CSN's seminal contribution to the evolution of contemporary American music was honored in 1997 with the group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. CSN continues to garner major awards, including being honored in 2006 with BMI's prestigious Pop Icons designation. Their popularity, like their music, has endured to this day, even as Crosby, Stills and Nash have simultaneously maintained successful solo careers.
Galt MacDermot, James Rado, Gerome Ragni (deceased):
In 1967, jazz critic and music publisher Nat Shapiro introduced Galt MacDermot to Gerome Ragni and Jim Rado, actors who had just written a provocative play entitled Hair. The three hit it off, and MacDermot scored the music to Ragni and Rado's words in three weeks. It was a match made in songwriting heaven. Rado has said that the inspiration for the music came from a combination of people they met in the street, people they knew and their own imaginations. Hair won a Grammy in 1969 and was made into a hit film in 1979. The theatrical show ran for nearly 2000 performances in both London and New York. Songs from Hair have been recorded by numerous artists, including Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli. The Fifth Dimension released a medley of the two songs "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" in 1969, the year after the show opened on Broadway, which won Record of the Year and topped the charts for six weeks. Some other songs from the show became top 10 hits that year: The Cowsills's recording of the title song "Hair" climbed to #2 on the Billboard charts, "Good Morning Starshine" as sung by Oliver reached #3, and Three Dog Night's version of "Easy to Be Hard" went to #4. Another notable version of a song from Hair at the time was Nina Simone's medley, "Ain't Got No -- I Got Life" on her 1968 album 'Nuff Said!, which reached the top 5 on the British charts. "Good Morning Starshine" was sung on a Sesame Street episode in 1969 by cast member Bob McGrath. In 1970, ASCAP announced that "Aquarius" was played more frequently on U.S. radio and television than any other song that year.
At just 23 years old, New York City native Stephen Schwartz, became a major force in the American Musical Theater when he penned Broadway's Godspell, for which he won several awards including two Grammys. Following the major success of Godspell, Schwartz went on to write Pippin, The Magic Show and The Baker's Wife. Schwartz also contributed four songs to a musical version of Studs Terkel's Working. More recently, he composed lyrics and music to the long-running Broadway smash, Wicked, which brought him another Grammy. Schwartz has become one of the best-known creators of animated film music, contributing Academy Award-winning lyrics to Disney's The Hunchback Notre Dame and Pocahontas, and writing both the music and lyrics for DreamWorks' Prince of Egypt, which included the Academy Award-winning song, "When You Believe." The score of the 2007 film, Enchanted, contained three Oscar-nominated songs by Schwartz and composer Alan Menken. Among Schwartz's best-known songs are "Corner of the Sky," "Just Around the Riverbend," "Colors of the Wind," "Defying Gravity" and "Popular." Under the auspices of The ASCAP Foundation, Schwartz runs musical theatre workshops in New York and Los Angeles, and serves on the the ASCAP Foundation board. He is also a member of the Council of the Dramatists' Guild.
The stars came out last year for the 39th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards event at the Marriott Marquis' Grand Ballroom. Among the honorees were Desmond Child, Loretta Lynn, and Paul Anka, along with presenters and performers that included Joan Jett, Natasha Bedingfield and Lee Ann Womack. Recent induction galas have featured a constellation of stars including Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Peter, Paul and Mary, Smokey Robinson, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Kris Kristofferson, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, and Garth Brooks.
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. Over the course of the past 40 years, some key Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees have included Desmond Child, Loretta Lynn, John Sebastian, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Steve Cropper, Dolly Parton, Richard and Robert Sherman, Bill Withers, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison and Cy Coleman among many, many others. The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond.
Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame's Virtual Museum at http://www.songhall.org/.
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1000 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, (212) 573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go towards the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.