Rocker John Mellencamp, country legends Alan Jackson and Bill Anderson, R&B hitmaker Jermaine Dupri, film/TV songwriter Steve Dorff, Earth Wind & Fire collaborator Allee Willis and Kool & the Gang members Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James “JT” Taylor will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner. The induction event is slated for June 14 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The 2018 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a prodigious representation of creators of cross-genre hits, certain to resonate with everyone,” said SHOF co-chairs Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff and president/CEO Linda Moran. “Each year, the slate of songwriters we induct is more diverse and illustrative of the history and contributions that we strive to acknowledge and honor. We could not be more excited to preside over this year’s event and to give these songwriters their due respect.”
(Head here for more on this year’s and past inductees.)
The annual Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony is like a cross between the Grammy Awards and an annual family reunion for the tight-knit songwriting and music-publishing community. Every year, superstars receiving honors tell the room that the accolade means more to them than any other award they’ve received, because it’s an endorsement and a validation from their peers. While it may seem blindingly obvious that songwriting is the very foundation of the music industry, songwriters often work behind the scenes, unknown to the millions of fans of performers who rode to fame on their creations, and often disproportionately rewarded for their work. While it can’t do much about the latter issue, one of the great things about the ceremony is that it’s a place where you’ll see superstars like Billy Joel or Lionel Richie speak of people like John Bettis or Chip Taylor — who’d just walked the event’s red carpet virtually unrecognized — as equals, as influences, as icons.
But best of all, the show features one-of-a-kind performances. While last year’s big honoree, Jay-Z, did not attend (his wife Beyonce was about to give birth to twins) he was introduced by a video from former President Obama and his award was accepted by his friend and longtime publisher, Warner/Chappell CEO Jon Platt — and attendees could console themselves with performances from Ed Sheeran, Jon Bon Jovi, Usher, Pitbull and others.