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This past Thursday night a friend and I went to NYC for a quick overnight trip to attend this event:
Songwriters Hall of Fame 2008
New York, NY -- The 2008 Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) Awards show was a smashing success, as SHOF Chairman/CEO Hal David and President Linda Moran helped induct songwriting heavyweights including Desmond Child, Albert Hammond, Loretta Lynn, Alan Menken and John Sebastian into its hallowed Hall, and saluted honorees Paul Anka, Anne Murray, John Rzeznik and Milt Okun for their contributions to popular music.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame is always a night full of once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed, special moments and the 2008 gala did not disappoint. Inductee Desmond Child was presented with his induction award by platinum-selling singer-songwriter-guitarist Joan Jett, and a medley of Child's most loved tracks, including "Dude Looks Like a Lady" and "Livin' On a Prayer," was performed by Child, along with his original group, Rouge (Maria Vidal, Diane Grasselli and Myriam Valle), Latin percussionists and horn players.
Gibraltar native Albert Hammond was inducted by the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, the Honorable Peter Caruana, QC, while country music star Blake Shelton sang a beautiful rendition of Hammond's "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." In accepting his honor, Hammond quipped, "I never thought I would be standing here in front of you people accepting an award for something I started to meet girls."
Country icon Loretta Lynn was inducted by fellow country star Lee Ann Womack, who performed Lynn's hit "You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man)." Of her induction, Lynn said, ""When my daughter Patsy told me I was going to an award ceremony, I told her no. When she told me it was for songwriting I said 'When?' This is the greatest honor; I would much rather write than sing, but if you can write and sing that's pretty good too." Lynn performed her autobiographical song and #1 country hit "Coal Miner's Daughter." She then went on to break the rules and treat the audience to an impromptu version of "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)."
Oscar-, Golden Globe- and Grammy-winning composer and lyricist Alan Menken was inducted by his long time collaborator, Tim Rice, after pop star, Natasha Bedingfield gave a beautiful performance of Menken's "Colors of the Wind." Menken, in his acceptance speech, explained the power of the song: "We have three minutes to speak in a vocabulary which the world understands -- it's a privilege." He then went on to perform a medley of Disney fan favorites, including "Under the Sea," "A Whole New World" and "Little Shop of Horrors," among others.
John Sebastian, leader of the '60s hit group The Lovin' Spoonful, was joined by fellow Lovin' Spoonful member Steve Boone and performed a rocking medley including "Lovin' You" and "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice." Sebastian was honored with a performance by the Naked Brothers, 10-year-old Alex and 13-year-old Nat Wolff, and was inducted by one of SHOF's 2007 esteemed inductees, Irving Burgie.
John Rzeznik, frontman of hitmaking group The Goo Goo Dolls, was the recipient of the Hal David Starlight Award, given to gifted songwriters who are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs. Rzeznik was presented his award by music impresario Paul Shaffer. Recalling the start of his career he said, "I want to thank Phil Ramone for talking to me because I'm just a punk." He then went on to perform a rockin' rendition of his own hit, "Slide."
Anne Murray was the recipient of the newly renamed Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award, which is specifically tailored for artists or "star makers" in the music industry who have been responsible for a substantial number of hit songs for an extended period of time, a perfect way to describe Murray's long career. Murray was presented with her award by Randy Goodrum, who penned her smash song, "You Needed Me," which she said was the greatest song she's ever recorded, and thanked the hallowed hall with a soaring performance of the song.
Milt Okun, founder of the highly successful independent publishing company Cherry Lane Music, was the recipient of the Abe Olman Publisher Award this year. Okun has made his impact on the music business working with and nurturing the careers of such greats as Peter, Paul and Mary, Plácido Domingo and Harry Belafonte, as well as The Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, Wolfmother, Quincy Jones and many more. He was honored by the SHOF with a performance by the first artist he ever signed, Tom Paxton, and the most recent artist he has signed, Madi Diaz, who sang a duet, both on guitars, of the John Denver-penned "Leaving on a Jet Plane." Well known for his humility, Okun said, "I'm thrilled that in a world of million catalogue companies, a small independent should be honored."
This year's Towering Song, "Take Me Out to The Ball Game," written by composer Albert von Tilzer and lyricist Jack Norworth, is known as the "other" national anthem at baseball stadiums across America, and is second only to "Happy Birthday" and "The Star Spangled Banner" as the one of the most easily recognized songs in America. Yankee sportscaster John Sterling invited the audience to join former Yankee player Bernie Williams, actor Danny Aiello, and former Brooklyn Dodger great Ralph Branca in singing along with a special all-star performance of America's favorite pastime theme song.
The legendary Paul Anka was honored with the Johnny Mercer Award, one of the most prestigious special awards of the evening and reserved for previous inductees. Describing a critic's reaction to his breakout song, "Diana," Anka recalled the journalist saying, "'That sounds like something a 16-year-old would write.' Well, I took it as a compliment because I was 15 years old at the time." John Legend, who was the recipient of last year's Hal David Starlight Award, wowed the crowd with his own special rendition of Anka's "Put Your Head on My Shoulder." Anka then brought the house to its feet and the show to a resounding conclusion with an indelible performance of "My Way."
All in all, it was a very special night for songwriters, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and those lucky enough to attend. As Hall of Fame Chairman/CEO Hall David eloquently put it, "This has been a remarkable year, and an ultimate testimony, both to the power of song, and the undeniable importance of honoring the contributions of our great popular music songwriters who illustrate the emotions and narrate the journeys that directly impact our human experience."
Joan Jett inducting Desmond Child
She said that her hit I Hate Myself For Loving You was I Hate Myself and I Can't Get Laid before Desmond came along
I was up in the balcony with the other commoners, so not the best vantage point lol
Sounds like you had a really great time, Gutterflower: all those Master legendary music writters earned those awards with much "much" Heart, the Iconic Paul Anka very pleased to hear that he'd received such honors. About time!
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