Post Malone, Gloria Estefan, More Light Up Songwriters Hall of Fame


We inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame each year The initiation ceremony is the music industry’s best-kept secret – it’s an invite-only, insider combination of a superstar awards show and family reunion for the tight-knit songwriting and music publishing community, now in its 52nd year and never televised before. livestream In fact, we’ve said this so many times that Linda Moran, longtime SHOF CEO, quoted us in her keynote speech Thursday night.

While the show has received honors in the past – Jay-Z is less happy due to the upcoming birth of his and Beyonce’s twins, and Ray Davies of the Kinks is less happy due to his sister’s death – this year’s event received two awards for the first time. canceled, their inauguration postponed to next year: the reclusive Sade, whom everyone thought had about a 40% chance of showing up, was delayed a few months ago due to a schedule conflict, and Snoop Dogg, who left abruptly for reasons previously undisclosed, this week. But SHOF is such a star-studded evening that whatever the event was, it was a thrilling success packed with great music – and the glimmer of hope was that it ended in a relatively regular three hours (usually stretching to five).

One of the biggest aspects of the show is seeing superstars like Billy Joel or Lionel Richie talk about people like Mickey Stevenson or Chip Taylor as equals and icons as they walked the event’s red carpet almost unrecognized. And on Thursday night, we heard them talk respectfully about Liz Rose and writer Tim Rice, who unexpectedly started her songwriting career as a single mom in her late 30s but has co-wrote several country hits for Taylor Swift and many other artists. The lyrics of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Evita”, “The Lion King”, “Aladdin” and even knighted by Queen Elizabeth: songs that millions of people know, even if they will never know these two legendary songwriters if they pass. them on the street. The Class of 2023 also features Electric Light Orchestra mastermind Jeff Lynne, Miami Sound Machine’s Gloria Estefan, Alanis Morrisette collaborator Glen Ballard, New Jack Swing icon Teddy Riley, a teen songwriter-themed award for the rapper post maloneand a boss honor for CBS News’ Anthony Mason.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 15: Jeff Lynne performs on stage in 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame Commencement and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City on June 15, 2023. (Photo: L. Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame)
Getty Images for the Songwriters Hall of Fame

The show always starts with a bang, and this year’s did not disappoint: Eagles guitarist and soloist Joe Walsh plays a hardcore version of ELO’s 1979 hit “Don’t Bring Me Down” — a well-chosen cover. It is one of the few songs in Walsh’s vocal range in the band’s catalogue. After finishing the song, he said, “I’ve always wanted to be in ELO, so I guess I took it off the list,” and then gave an absolutely hilarious introductory speech delivered with the cool humor that is the hallmark of many. on her solo songs: “I got a call saying that Jeff Lynne was sent to New York and I was the one who had to do it, here’s People against Jeff Lynne! When ELO first came out, we thought, who were these guys? How many were they? If they’re orchestras, there should be about 30… no! Referring to Lynne, who wrote, produced, and sang nearly all of the band’s material, I learned that they were almost one man. “John Lennon called them SOBs – that means sons of the Beatles” and, after working with George Harrison in the 80s, Lynne continued to perform two reunion songs that the three surviving Beatles recorded for their “Anthology” series in the 1990s. he did. .

And when Paul McCartney announced earlier this week that he was using artificial intelligence to clean up the sound quality of a rough Lennon demo that was due to be released as a Beatles song later this year, Walsh’s words later turned to his by-far main topic, artificial intelligence. “So does AI mean that music will be pulled from a digital beam at the speed of sound and we’re all going to be obsolete? PFFFFFFFT!” he said, blowing a long raspberry. “You can’t program the soul of a songwriter or the talent of an artist! And,” he added, “it can’t stick furniture to a hotel ceiling or throw an air conditioner into a pool — once it can do that, AI will be a real musician.”

ELO’s 1977 hit “Mr. Blue Sky,” Lynne talked about the magic that radio music brought to her childhood in rainy Birmingham, England, and told the familiar story of how the song came to be after a two-week period of writers’ block during “dark and dark.” “Rainy” weather in Switzerland, “And then one morning, suddenly the weather cleared up and I could see the Alps and wrote 14 songs in two weeks.”

Next up, singer-songwriters Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey held a small Love Junkies reunion to sing the Grammy-winning “Girl Crush,” a hit for Little Big Town, which they co-wrote with Liz Rose. “It was our pleasure and privilege to write this song with our personal sweetheart Liz Rose,” they said, before introducing Caitlin, Liz’s mother’s daughter, who sang the Taylor Swift collaboration “White Horse” beautifully despite some nerves (industry executives are one) , but performing in front of your mother?). In her gracious acceptance speech, Rose thanked publisher Jody Williams, who signed her based on two songs and insisted, despite her objections, that she really was a songwriter (well done Jody). She thanked the Nashville songwriting community, Bart Herbison, and the Nashville Songwriters Assn. International “for giving me the privilege to stand and fight alongside songwriters” and many of the artists who sang her songs – by name, but she specifically chose Swift and remembered “working with a 14-year-old.” Everyone laughed at me, but I said, ‘This is the easiest thing I’ve done all week: We write a song for an hour and a half every day.'” Who is laughing now?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 15: Heather Headley performs on stage at the 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame Admission and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis on June 15, 2023, in New York City. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame)
Getty Images for the Songwriters Hall of Fame

The next award winner is literally a “Sir”: Tim Rice honored with an absolutely stunning performance of Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” ​​(from “Jesus Christ Superstar”). He sang the song in a cappella and almost interpretive way at first, with a murmur opening to accent lines as the house band gently accompanies him and thunders into the chorus, showing off his surprising range. along with co-writer EGOT Alan Mencken, actor Michael Maliakel, and most recently Brandon McCall from the “Lion King” cast for a chorus. Supported by Elton John’s performance of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Rice, who has attended many SHOF ceremonies in the past , accepted the award with familiar – and quite British – humility, saying that he received the award primarily “because they knew I was going to show it”, but he spoke eloquently about their primary collaborator, Andrew. “It’s almost impossible not to be a hit,” he says, when working with talents like Lloyd Webber, Mencken and Elton John.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 15: (L to R) Siedah Garrett and Myles Frost perform on stage at the 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame Admission and Awards Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis on June 15, 2023, in New York City. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame)
Getty Images for the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Then, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Siedah Garrett and “MJ” music star Myles Frost performed a spectacular version of Michael Jackson’s 1987 hit “Man in the Mirror,” which Garrett co-wrote with award-winning Glen Ballard, who wrote hits for everyone from Alanis. sang the version. Morissette to Wilson-Phillips and Aerosmith. Ballard looked almost stunned, saying, “This honor shows me that I’m not wasting my time,” and then introduced his own solo performance, which consisted of a short medley of hits such as “Hold On”, “Ironic”, “You”. “Look Beautiful in Love”, “Believe” and “Open to Persuasion” by saying “You’re about to hear why we have artists.”

Her energy level was up again when R&B singer Keith Sweat and “Human Beat Box” Doug E. Fresh introduced their young friends, collaborators, and Harlem native Teddy Riley, known for releasing the “New Jack Swing” sound of the early ’90s. . “We’d cut out school and play music at her mom’s house,” Fresh recalls. Riley seemed to feel like the audience “don’t even know my songs, but as long as they make you dance it’s okay.” He remembered his father leaving the instruments in the family living room as a child (he did) just to see if his son would buy it, and when he was 5 years old, he was performed at the Apollo with Gladys Knight. I knew then that I wanted to be a star! Still, she said, “I have a Hollywood star but this is the highest honor.” The record executive thanked Clarence Avant for introducing him to Quincy Jones, who later introduced his music to Michael Jackson. The trio then raised the crowd with an electrifying melody of Riley’s biggest hits such as “The Show”, “I Want Her” and “No Diggity/Rump Shaker”.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 15: (L to R) Gloria Estefan, Sasha Estefan-Coppola, Emily Estefan and Emilio Estefan performing on stage at the 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame Admission and Awards Gala at the Marriott Marquis in New York on June 15, 2023 exhibits. New York City. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame)
Getty Images for the Songwriters Hall of Fame

As the show drew to a close, producer-songwriter Louis Bell took the stage to honor his longtime collaborator and friend Post Malone with the Hal David Starlight Award given to young songwriters. He recalled the first time he heard Malone’s music and its “magical quality – a voice I would hear in the middle of nowhere 40 years from now.” He balanced the praise with humor, calling out to him and the “old soul” who sounded “like an angelic goat” to the roaring laughter of the crowd. Dressed in a sleek black suit, white shirt and tie, Malone took the stage and gave his friend a long hug, then said that he was uncomfortable speaking in public but enthusiastically thanked him, “It’s so epic to be here.” and she laughed when she said, “I’m 27 – getting old now,” and “I’ve been touring for eight years, I’m done with this!” He then picked up an acoustic guitar and played the solo version of “Feeling Whitney” from his debut album “Stoney”.

Finally, legendary Motown songwriter, Ashford & Simpson member, and Songwriters Hall of Famer Valerie Simpson introduced Gloria Estefan as “nature’s pop music force, creating songs that touch fans around the world.”

Estefan gave a beautiful acceptance speech that focused on her fans and family: She met her “one and only” husband and bandmate Emilio Estefan when she was 17 and said, “48 years later, here we are.” He remembered his difficult early years with his parents and siblings as a Cuban immigrant, a song his mother sang to him as a baby, singing with his favorite Cuban singers as a child, and when Estefan asked him to sit down for the first time. tape. “Since I can remember, music has saved my life.” He later said, “My fans may know me better than some of my closest friends. That’s the beauty and danger of being a songwriter: we lay ourselves bare.”

He and Hall’s master house band then smashed a strong hit “Reach”, “Words Take Off”, “Everything For You”, “I Can’t Stay Away From You”, “I Don’t Want To Lose You”. “Con Los Años Que Me Quedan” and “Let’s Get Loud” become a family affair, with Emilio (in the conga) and his grandson Sasha (in a duet) joining him in the finale of Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine’s “Rhythm Is Gonna Get” came. You” – that was definitely the song in the minds of most of the audience as he left unexpectedly early.

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