Leon Russell, Garth Brooks, “Lady Marmalade” writer Allen Toussaint, John Bettis, and Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Russell was an enthusiastic choice of the Songwriters group, as opposed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where Elton John made sure Leon got in, if even as a side man. Russell and Elton John released a great album last year called “The Union.”
The other inductees are all terrific–and in full disclosure, this reporter is on the nominating committee. Kelly and Steinberg wrote “True Colors,” “Like a Virgin,” and dozens of hits including two of the Pretenders’ best: “I’ll Stand by You” and “Night in My Veins.” John Bettis’s credits include two of the Carpenters’ best: “Goodbye to Love” and “Yesterday Once More,” plus “Human Nature” for Michael Jackson.
Linda Moran has transformed the Songwriters Hall of Fame into a mega deal, and legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb is now the chairman, succeeding lyricist Hal David, who’s 90 years old going strong, and hasn’t left the building. Phil Ramone produces the show, a hot hot ticket, on June 16th at the Marriott Marquis. More announcements about the show are coming, including who’s performing (always an A list).
My guess–and I have no inside info yet–is that we could see Labelle, Cyndi Lauper, Elton John, and Trisha Yearwood on the stage. If Madonna were really cool, she’d come and sing “Like a Virgin” for the guys who put her on the map.