The last time Billy Joel presented an award at the annual all star Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner, it was to Jimmy Webb. Billy sat at the piano and taught a master class on how Webb wrote “Wichita Lineman.” It was an extraordinary moment. God only knows what he;ll do on June 16th when he presents to Garth Brooks. Billy just signed on to the show, which is the hottest night of the year after Clive Davis‘s Grammy party. Other presenters and performers are going to include Ashford and Simpson, Sam Moore, Bill Medley, Boz Scaggs, Chrissie Hynde, Jimmy Jam Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Dominic Chianese, and Mrs. Brooks aka Trisha Yearwood.
This year’s inducteess besides Garth: Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly, John Bettis and Allen Toussaint. The Johnny Mercer Award will be presented to Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and the Towering Song is “It Was A Very Good Year,” to be accepted by composer and lyricist Ervin Drake. The Hal David Starlight Award will be presented to hip hopper Drake, who is no relation to the aforementioned Mr. Drake. The Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award recipient will be Chaka Khan, because she’s had hits by Prince, Ashford and Simpson, etc. The first-ever Visionary Leadership Award will be presented to beloved SHOF Chairman Emeritus Hal David, the famed lyricist who wrote dozens of smash hits with Burt Bacharach and others.
As usual, the concert is produced by Phil Ramone. Linda Moran, who’s turned the Songwriters Hall of Fame into a five star operation, presides. The show should be on TV, but everyone says that would ruin it. You have to be there to see it and to hear it.