The ceremony included musical performances throughout the night. Judy Collins performed "Suzanne," which was followed by kd Lang with "Hallelujah." David Foster provided piano accompaniment for Charice for his hit "I Have Nothing." Phil Collins and Philip Bailey performed a duet of "Easy Lover." Taylor Swift played acoustic guitar to "White Horse" after accepting the Hal David Starlight Award. Earth, Wind & Fire finished the night with their performance of "September."
The Johnny Mercer Award, which is the highest honor from the Songwriters Hall of Fame as only previous inductees can be eligible, was presented to Phil Collins. Best known for his work as drummer and vocalist for the British rock group Genesis and as a solo artist, Phil Collins has created some of popular music’s greatest hits, including "In the Air Tonight," "Against All Odds," and "Another Day In Paradise," and such energetic hits as "Sussudio," "You Can’t Hurry Love," and "Two Hearts." Phil Collins was presented his award by Bruce Hornsby, who performed in his honor.
This year’s Hal David Starlight Award, given to gifted songwriters who are making significant impact in the music industry via their original songs, was presented to Taylor Swift by John Mayer, who previously won this award. Swift accepted the award by thanking those who have supported her since the young age of 14 and explaining that her songwriting capabilities come from her inability to speak her true feelings face-to-face. Swift joked that often people in her life don’t find out she loved them until months after when hearing one of her songs.
The legendary Phil Ramone was this year’s recipient of the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award, which was presented by the renowned Billy Joel in a hilarious presentation speech at the piano. Joel eloquently narrated stories about Ramone’s ability to hear the missing element in a song and to make them runaway hits. Ramone is one of music’s well-respected producers with 34 GRAMMY nominations, 14 GRAMMY Awards, an Emmy and numerous awards and honors to his credit. Working with a variety of musicians from country to pop stars, Ramone created some of today’s best hit songs, such as: Billy Joel’s "Tell Her About It," "Uptown Girl" and "Modern Woman," "Late In The Evening" (Paul Simon), "Too Late for Goodbyes" (Julian Lennon) and many more. He has worked with many notable artists including Bono, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Quincy Jones, BB King, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Sting, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor to name a few.
This year’s Towering Song Award for "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was presented to Paul Simon who wrote the song in 1969 and recorded it in 1970. "Bridge Over Troubled Water," with a powerful performance by Broadway great Brian Stokes Mitchell last night, was honored as one of the most enduring songs from the past four decades. It won the GRAMMY Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1971. It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 28, 1970 and stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks. Following these prestigious awards, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was re-recorded and performed by many iconic musicians such as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and many more.
Keith Mardak, Chairman/CEO of the Hal Leonard Corporation, was the recipient of the Abe Olman Publisher’s Award. The Hal Leonard Corporation has experienced a dramatic annual expansion since its beginning, especially with the 1985 purchase Mardak headed by an internal management group. The Hal Leonard Corporation currently is the world’s largest music print publisher with a catalog consisting of over 200,000 publications, covering a broad spectrum of printed music.
At this year’s Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards Gala, Paul Shaffer and Elizabeth Withers remembered songwriters who have passed before us by performing a medley of songs. These legendary songwriters include Tom Adair and Matt Dennis, Bob Marley, Laura Nyro, Sunny Skylar, and Jesse Stone.
2010 Special Awards:
- Johnny Mercer Award - Phil Collins
- Abe Olman Publisher Award - Keith Mardak
- Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award - Phil Ramone
- Towering Song - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
- Hal David Starlight Award - Taylor Swift
2010 SHoF Inductees:
- Leonard Cohen
- Jesse Stone
- Sunny Skylar
- Laura Nyro
- Bob Marley
- Matt Dennis
- Tom Adair
- Jackie DeShannon
- David Foster
- Johnny Mandel
- Earth, Wind & Fire
For more information:
Songwriters Hall of Fame
Source: Press Release