Thursday, June 13, 2024

Madonna, Jay Z Bring New Lows to the Songwriters Hall of Fame Nominations


Madonna and Jay Z have been nominated for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. And you thought Trump signaled the end of the world.

Madonna’s hits were all written by other people. Two of those people, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly– who wrote “Like a Virgin”–were inducted a few years ago. Madonna wouldn’t come to the ceremony even to sing the song, and the guys made jokes about it.

Most of Madonna’s early hits were written by Stephen Bray and or Patrick Leonard. William Orbit took over after that. Maybe you could say Madonna “inspired” some of her hits. But this isn’t the Inspiration Hall of Fame. Every songwriter already inducted should sign a petition against this.

This is the 2nd time SHOF has tried to get Madonna in there. If it works, it’s sad.

As for Jay Z, his inspiration for “songwriting” is taking existing pieces of music– a like a song from “Annie”– and using it to support his rap lyrics. Jay Z doesn’t know how to write music and hasn’t written music. His raps are great, they belong in the Rap Hall of Fame. They could even be considered a form of poetry. But they are not songs.

The other nominees actually wrote songs: Cat Stevens, Gloria Estefan, the late PJ Sloan, Bryan Adams, George Michael, the amazing Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart, as well Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Swedish hitmaker Max Martin. All of them deserve to be inducted.

Hal David must be spinning in his grave today. Really. The music publishers are really leaning on the SHOF now like never before. All things must pass away.

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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