Carole Bayer Sager to Receive the Johnny Mercer Award

The Songwriters Hall of Fame announced today that Carole Bayer Sager will be the 2019 recipient of the esteemed Johnny Mercer Award at the 50th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 13th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

The Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is exclusively reserved for a songwriter or songwriting team who has already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact, that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer. Carole Bayer Sager was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.

SHOF Chairman Nile Rodgers said, “If you are going to be the honored recipient of the Johnny Mercer Award you better be one of the greatest lyricists of all time. From 'Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)' to 'When I Need You' and 'Heartbreaker' to 'That’s What Friends Are For', 'Groovy Kind Of Love', 'Nobody Does It Better' and so many more, the incomparable Carole Bayer Sager has been a powerful female voice that has made the world a gentler and more beautiful place."

For five decades, Grammy and Academy Award–winning songwriter Carole Bayer Sager has been among the most admired and successful of her craft, responsible for her lyrical contributions to some of the most popular songs in the English language, including “Nobody Does It Better,” “A Groovy Kind of Love,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and the Oscar-winning theme from the movie Arthur, “The Best That You Can Do.” She has collaborated with (and written for) a dizzying number of stars, including Peter Allen, Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Clint Eastwood, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Melissa Manchester, Reba McEntire, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, and Barbra Streisand.

Carole has written more than 400 songs. She has received an Oscar, two Golden Globe Awards, and a combined fifteen nominations, including a Grammy win for Song of the Year, for “That What Friends Are For.” Her relationship with composer Marvin Hamlisch was the basis of the long-running hit musical, They’re Playing Our Song, for which she wrote the lyrics. Her work with composer Burt Bacharach, to whom she was also married for ten years, produced pop standards such as “On My Own” and “That’s What Friends Are For” (inspired by her friendship with Elizabeth Taylor), which raised over two million dollars for AIDS research. Her Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning song “The Prayer,” which she wrote with David Foster, was originally recorded by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, and is one of the few songs to be sung at both weddings and funerals. Carole also co-wrote half of the songs used in in the Broadway musical “The Boy From Oz,” which starred Hugh Jackman and told the story of Peter Allen’s life.

Other hit songs include,”It’s My Turn”, “When I Need You,” ”Everything Old is New Again,” and Neil Diamond’s “(Turn on Your) Heartlight.”

In October 2016, Carole released her New York Times best-selling memoir, They’re Playing Our Song. In it, Carole tells the surprisingly frank and darkly humorous story of a woman whose sometimes crippling fears and devastating relationships inspired many of the songs she would ultimately write. They’re Playing Our Song will fascinate anyone interested in the craft of songwriting and the joy of collaboration, but Carole’s memoir is also a deeply personal account of how love and heartbreak made her the woman, and the writer, she is.

A recipient of numerous honors, Carole has also been awarded a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 23 years, former Warner Brothers chairman, Bob Daly, her son Cristopher Bacharach, three step children and seven grandchildren.

Inductees at this year’s event include Dallas Austin, Missy Elliott, Tom T. Hall, John Prine, Jack Tempchin, and Yusuf / Cat Stevens. Martin Bandier to receive Visionary Leadership Award.

Previous Winners:

  • 1980 – Frank Sinatra
  • 1981 – Yip Harburg
  • 1982 – Harold Arlen
  • 1983 – Sammy Cahn
  • 1985 – Alan Jay Lerner
  • 1986 – Mitchell Parish
  • 1987 – Jerry Herman
  • 1990 – Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick
  • 1991 – Betty Comden & Adolph Green
  • 1992 – Burton Lane
  • 1993 – Jule Styne
  • 1994 – Irving Caesar
  • 1995 – Cy Coleman
  • 1996 – Burt Bacharach & Hal David
  • 1997 – Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman
  • 1998 – Paul Simon
  • 1999 – Stephen Sondheim
  • 2000 – Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
  • 2001 – Billy Joel
  • 2002 – Michael Jackson
  • 2003 – Jimmy Webb
  • 2004 – Stevie Wonder
  • 2005 – Smokey Robinson
  • 2006 – Kris Kristofferson
  • 2007 – Dolly Parton
  • 2008 – Paul Anka
  • 2009 – Holland–Dozier–Holland
  • 2010 – Phil Collins
  • 2011 – Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
  • 2013 – Elton John & Bernie Taupin
  • 2014 – Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff
  • 2015 – Van Morrison
  • 2016 – Lionel Richie
  • 2018 – Neil Diamond

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