Friday, July 12, 2024

Leon Russell, Garth Brooks Make Songwriters Hall of Fame


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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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