Songwriters Hall of Fame To Induct Six New Members Including Russell & Toussaint

The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced their inductees for 2011.  Making the cut are John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint.

"We are inspired by the striking caliber and range of the 2011 Songwriters Hall of Fame class," said SHOF Chairman, Jimmy Webb. “John, Garth, Leon, Billy, Tom, and Allen each represent a unique breed of artist, warmly respected by their peers and revered by all lovers of song. As songwriters, their work has forever enriched our world’s music."

Bettis, Steinberg & Kelly and Toussaint were elected in the Non-Performing Songwriter category. Those nominated but not receiving enough votes for induction were Tony Hatch, Ivy George Hunter & Mickey Stevenson, Dennis Lambert Brian Potter, Tony McCaulay, Dan Penn Spooner Oldham, Dean Pitchford, Jerry Ragovoy Bert Berns, Joe South and Jim Steinman.

Brooks and Russell were from the Performing Songwriter category. Those nominated who failed to get enough votes for induction were Steven Tyler Joe Perry, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Harry Wayne Casey, Tom Johnston & Patrick Simmons, Phil & Don Everly, Annie Lennox & Dave Stewart, George Michael, Nile Rodgers Bernard Edwards, Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart and Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons & Dusty Hill.

The new members will be inducted on June 16 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.

The biographies of each of the inductees from the SHOF press release:

John Bettis:

John Bettis has written songs that have sold more than 250 million records worldwide and have been sung by some of the most loved artists of all time including, Michael Jackson, George Strait, Celine Dion, Madonna, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Karen Carpenter and many more.  His songs include: Human Nature, Heartland, Top Of The World, Yesterday Once More, Good-Bye To Love, Only Yesterday, Can You Stop The Rain?, One Moment In Time, Crazy For You, and Slow Hand. Bettis has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, three Grammys® and three Emmys.  In 1988 he received an Emmy for One Moment In Time, the theme song for the 1988 Olympics. He also received an Emmy for “Where Is The Hope” in 2003. His song Human Nature was included in the historic album of the year Thriller.  His film work includes Twilight Zone: The Movie, Vision Quest, Pure Country, Cocktail, Star Trek V and The Godfather III among others.  His TV themes include Growing Pains, Murphy Brown and Nurses.

The Ultimate HitsGarth Brooks:

Certified by the RIAA as the #1 selling solo artist in US history, Garth Brooks has sold more than 128 million albums and is the only solo artist in RIAA history to have six albums top the 10 million mark. His most recent release The Ultimate Hits has been certified 5x platinum. His body of work includes groundbreaking albums No Fences, Ropin’ The Wind, The Hits and Double Live – all of which helped propel country music as a genre to the front pages of newspapers and magazines worldwide. Since breaking onto the charts in 1989, Brooks has brought a variety of styles including working class blues, honky tonk, bluegrass and arena rock. As a songwriter his credits include If Tomorrow Never Comes, The Thunder Rolls, Unanswered Prayers and We Shall Be Free to name a few. Brooks has received every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist, including two Grammys®, 17 American Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, five World Music Awards, 12 People’s Choice Awards, and 36 Billboard Music Awards. He was named Artist of the ‘90s at the 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, received the Artist Achievement Award at the 1997 Billboard Music Awards, was named Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards in 2000 and the Academy of Country Music Awards in 1999. In 2001, in the midst of one of the most successful careers in music history, Brooks retired and moved back to Oklahoma to raise his children. In 2008, Brooks headlined President Obama’s Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. In 2009, Brooks emerged out of retirement and entered a five-year performing relationship with Las Vegas resort developer, Steve Wynn. He recently finished an astonishing nine concerts to raise $5 million for the flood relief efforts in Nashville, Tennessee.

RetrospectiveLeon Russell:

Leon Russell is a legendary songwriter whose credits include A Song For You, This Masquerade, Delta Lady, Tight Rope, Bluebird, Back To The Island, and Hummingbird. Joe Cocker had a hit with Delta Lady, B.B. King with Hummingbird, and The Carpenters with Superstar, which Leon co-wrote with Bonnie BramlettGeorge Benson’s recording of This Masquerade won the Grammy® Award for Best Record of The Year in 1977 and was the only song with vocals on his triple Platinum album, Breezin. Russell had his own chart success with Tight Rope at #11 in 1972 and Bluebird at #14 in 1975. Russell’s song, If It Wasn’t for Bad, from his 2010 duet album The Union, with Elton John, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Russell was well known as a session musician in Los Angeles during the 1960’s, and played on hit records by The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, and many others. Russell will be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the first recipient of the Award for Musical Excellence in March 2011.

Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly:

Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly are among the most successful songwriters of the past 25 years, co-writing five #1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, including Madonna’s Like A Virgin, Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors, Whitney Houston’s So Emotional, The BanglesEternal Flame, and Heart’s Alone. They began working together in 1981 and recorded an album as I-10 on Epic Records in 1983, which featured Alone and marked the beginning of a longtime writing partnership that resulted in some of the most memorable hits of the 80s and 90s. Steinberg & Kelly have written for artists such as Tina Turner, Roy Orbison, Pat Benatar, Belinda Carlisle, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood and The Divinyls with I Touch Myself among others. Many of Steinberg & Kelly’s songs have become enduring classics and continue to receive attention from many of today’s top artists. Like A Virgin was honored by Rolling Stone & MTV as the #4 song on its list of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs. True Colors was recorded by Phil Collins for his Greatest Hits album and became a major worldwide hit. True Colors was also featured in Kodak’s prominent television-based advertisement campaign for several years. Celine Dion scored hits with covers of I Drove All Night and Alone. These songs have also been staples for singers on American Idol.  In 1993, Steinberg & Kelly began another high-profile collaboration, writing numerous songs with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. The trio wrote six songs for the group’s Last of the Independents album in 1994, which included the Top 10 hit, I’ll Stand By You, and the single, Night In My Veins.

Allen ToussaintAllen Toussaint:

Allen Toussaint; musician, songwriter and record producer, is one of the most influential figures in New Orleans R&B. He has produced, written for, arranged, had his songs covered by and performed with music giants The Judds, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Patti LaBelle, Mac “Dr. John” Rebannac, Aaron and Art Neville, Joe Cocker, The (original) Meters, Glen Campbell, The Band, Little Feat, The Rolling Stones, Devo, Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, Etta James, Ramsey Lewis, Eric Gale and countless others.  His songs and productions have been featured in numerous films, and as a result of his stint as musical director for the off Broadway play Staggerlee, the production garnered the prestigious Outer Circle Critics Award.  Toussaint got his shot as a solo artist with a record for RCA and two of his earliest tunes, Java, which became a mega-hit for trumpeter Al Hirt, and Whipped Cream, the Herb Alpert hit, became instrumental standards. Toussaint then went onto team up with Lee Dorsey turning out a string of hits that included Working In The Coalmine, Holy Cow, Ride Your Pony and many others. Working in the Coalmine was then recorded by co-writer Lee Dorsey, Yes We Can became a smash hit by The Pointer Sisters and Sneaking Sally Thru The Alley was recorded by both Robert Palmer and Ringo Starr; he also contributed to the music business with his arrangements on LaBelle’s hit, Lady Marmalade. After establishing himself as one of the greatest songwriters, accredited to him by BMI Music, Toussaint was honored with a Grammy® nomination for 1977’s Song of the Year, Southern Night, performed by Glen Campbell.  In 1998, Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2009, was a Grammy® Trustees honoree.

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