Musical titans Dallas Austin, Missy Elliott, Tom T. Hall, John Prine, Jack Tempchin & Yusuf / Cat Stevens will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 50th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner. These legendary songwriters wrote mega-hits such as, “The Boy Is Mine,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” “Angel From Montgomery,” “Ballad of Forty Dollars,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Moonshadow.” The star-studded induction event is slated for Thursday, June 13th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon.
SHOF Chairman Nile Rodgers said, “The first thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the second thing you need to know is it’s about the song, the third thing you need to know is it’s about the song. That’s true now more than ever but it has always been about the song so I’m very proud that in my first year as Chairman of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame that we are recognizing some of the culturally most important songwriters of all time. The 2019 slate of inductees represents diversity and unity across genres and gender, highlighting our dedicated mission to honor music creators who have enriched our lives. These are writers who in their time literally transformed music and helped make what’s happening today possible.”
Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future. In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of troubadours. To qualify for induction, a songwriter must be a published writer for a minimum of 20 years with a notable catalog of hit songs.
Since the late 80s, Dallas Austin has written over 50 hit singles which have debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 list with 17 songs spending numerous weeks in the Top 10 list. From the 80’s to present, he has written multiple Billboard number one hits, including “The Boy is Mine” from Brandy and Monica, and TLC’s “Creep.” Additionally, Austin’s work with TLC garnered such songs as “Ain’t too Proud to Beg,” “Hat 2 da Back,” and “Unpretty” which appeared on the group’s critically acclaimed “Fanmail” album and resulted in a GRAMMY for “Best R&B Album” at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in 1999.
Another Bad Creation’s “Playground,” “lesha,” Boys II Men’s “Motownphilly,” Monica “Don’t Take it Personal,” Pink “Just Like a Pill” and TLC “What about Your Friends” are key projects whose inaugural albums or initial hit singles were written and produced by Austin. They exemplify his role as an innovator, creator and developer of what we know as Pop and R&B music today and have broadened his own vision for the future.
Not many other artists can claim to write songs for the variety of talent or music genre that Austin has experienced. He has had the joy of working and writing songs with the legendary “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, the P-Funk man himself George Clinton, the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson and one of the biggest selling female artists in history, Madonna “Secret”. He has also written with Santana, After 7, Erick Sermon, Johnny Gill, Bjork, Brand New Heavies, Fishbone, Grace Jones, Tricky, Usher, Shakira, Janet Jackson, Macy Gray, Gwen Stefani, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie and Natalie Cole.
One of the most significant female artists in contemporary music history, Missy Elliott is a groundbreaking solo superstar, pioneering songwriter-producer, and across-the-board cultural icon. The five-time GRAMMY® Award winner – with nominations spanning three decades – has attained unprecedented success, including U.S. sales in excess of 30 million. Missy’s six studio albums have each been RIAA platinum certified or better, marking her as the only female rapper to achieve that remarkable accomplishment.
Born in Portsmouth, VA, Missy first made waves for her inventive songwriting and production work, becoming a certified hitmaker. Elliott’s milestone solo debut, 1997’s RIAA platinum certified Supa Dupa Fly proved to be a landmark debut. Immediately acclaimed upon release as a boundary-shattering masterpiece, Supa Dupa Fly spawned a string of blockbuster Missy penned hit singles, including “Sock It 2 Me,” “Hit Em Wit Da Hee,” “Beep Me 911,” and of course groundbreaking “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” Da Real World followed in 1999, showcasing the record-breaking #1 hit, “Hot Boyz (Remix) (Feat. Lil’ Mo, Nas, Eve & Q-Tip).”
2001’s Miss E…So Addictive was yet another platinum certified milestone, a worldwide sensation that established Elliott as hip-hop’s preeminent female artist. With its six note undeniable hook, the album’s “Get Ur Freak On” redefined contemporary pop and hip hop, earning Missy her first-ever GRAMMY® Award (for “Best Rap Performance”).” Her album Under Construction debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 upon its 2002 release and has since been certified 2x platinum for 2.5 million sales in the U.S. alone. The iconic song “Work It,” the album’s lead single made history by spending an incredible 10 weeks at #2 on Billboard’s “Hot 100.” Missy’s sixth studio album, 2005’s The Cookbook featured the GRAMMY®-nominated “We Run This” and the chartbusting and beloved anthem “Lose Control (Feat. Ciara & Fatman Scoop).”
Missy’s massive accomplishments extended far beyond her own solo works, including innumerable guest appearances on singles and remixes by a truly diverse span of musical artists. As one of modern pop’s definitive songwriters and producers, Elliott’s star-studded list of songwriting credits continues to grow, including collaborations with Beyoncé (“Signs”), Whitney Houston (“In My Business”), Ciara (“One Two Step”), Monica (“So Gone”), Destiny’s Child (“Confessions”), SWV (“Can We”), Fantasia (“Free Yourself” and “Bump What Your Friends Say”), Mary J Blige (“I Never Been”), Aaliyah (“One In A Million,” “If Only Your Girl Knw,” and “Hot Like Fire”), Tweet (“Call Me”), Jennifer Hudson (“I’m His Only Woman”), Nicole Wray (“Make It Hot”), Mya (“My Love Is Like Whoa”), Total (“What About Us” and “Trippin”), and 702 (“Where My Girls At?” and “Stello”) among others.
Recent years have seen a series of surprise event appearances like her unforgettable performance at 2015’s Super Bowl XLIX. In 2016, Elliott united with former First Lady Michelle Obama for “This Is For My Girls,” an all-star anthem to female empowerment.
Two-time GRAMMY-winner John Prine is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Almost 50 years into a remarkable career, Prine has drawn effusive praise from the likes of Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and more. With music relevant to any age, Prine’s iconic songs like “Sam Stone,” “Angel From Montgomery,” “Paradise,” “Hello In There,” “Illegal Smile,” “That’s The Way The World Goes ‘Round,” “Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness,” “In Spite of Ourselves,” “I Just Want To Dance With You,” and many more have established him as a legendary singer, songwriter and performer.
He is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member, a PEN New England Lyrics Award recipient, and a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominee. His work has been recognized as part of the Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Hall of Fame and his songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band and many others.
Prine’s first album featuring new material in 13 years, The Tree Of Forgiveness, was released last year to overwhelming acclaim garnering three nominations at this year’s 61st GRAMMY Awards including Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song (for the album track “Summer’s End”). In addition, his inaugural music festival, All The Best, will take place Nov 11-15 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Tom T. Hall
Born May 25, 1936 in Olive Hill, KY, Tom T. Hall wrote music that elevated and enriched American culture, giving voice to the experiential intricacies of common people and exemplifying compassionate honesty.
“He’s a master of deceptive simplicity,” said new-century troubadour Jason Isbell. “The American songbook would be greatly lacking without his contributions.”
President Jimmy Carter said Country Music Hall of Fame member Hall, known as “The Storyteller,” was “As well qualified as anyone I know to tell the history of our country and love and hate and achievement and disappointment and happiness and tears among the people who have made our country, and who still exemplify its finest merits.”
Johnny Cash wrote to Hall, “You are my all-time favorite songwriter.”
Hall recorded 33 Top 20 country hits, including masterworks “Ballad of Forty Dollars,” “A Week in a Country Jail,” “The Year Clayton Delaney Died,” “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine,” and “I Love.” He also penned the Jeannie C. Riley smash “Harper Valley, P.T.A.,” the Alan Jackson chart-topper “Little Bitty,” and “That’s How I Got To Memphis,” recorded by greats including Bobby Bare, Solomon Burke, Rosanne Cash, Eric Church, Bill Haley, and Buddy Miller.
His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Duane Eddy, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, George Jones, Gram Parsons, and many more.
“Songwriters aren’t good songwriters, people are good songwriters,” he said. “You sit down as a person and write a song. If you’ve written a song by the time you stand back up, you’re a songwriter. But the person comes first. You can’t look at the thing from somewhere up above, or from some place of supposed knowledge.”
In later life, Tom T. collaborated with his wife, Dixie Hall, in composing hundreds of bluegrass music standards. The Hall’s songs placed them in the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
Jack Tempchin is a legendary California hit songwriter whose best known compositions are “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Already Gone.” Both are on ‘EAGLES Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975‘, awarded *Best-Selling U.S. Album of the 20th Century* by the RIAA. Tempchin has five Eagles contributions total, including co-writes “The Girl From Yesterday” from the Eagles ‘Hell Freezes Over’ 1994 release, plus co-writes “It’s Your World Now” and “Somebody,” from Eagles 2007 ‘Long Road Out Of Eden’ release.
In 1976, Jack Tempchin was first signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records along with Jules Shear and Richard Stekol in a band known as The Funky Kings. Classic-rocker Johnny Rivers heard the Funky Kings’ Jack Tempchin track, “Slow Dancing (Swayin’ To the Music)” recorded the song, and made it a Billboard Top 10 hit in 1977. Later that same year, country crooner Johnny Duncan took it Top 10 on the Country charts.
In 1980, the Eagles took a 14 year vacation. Tempchin then occupied the vacant writer’s seat next to Glenn Frey. Together, they co-wrote a dozen radio hits for Glenn Frey’s solo career including, “True Love,” “The One You Love,” “Party Town,” “Sexy Girl,” “I Found Somebody,” “Soul Searchin,” “Livin’ Right” and “Part Of You, Part Of Me”… the official soundtrack song for Oscar-winning movie ‘Thelma & Louise’. Tempchin and Frey also co-composed “Smuggler’s Blues” & “You Belong to The City” specifically for the original ‘Miami Vice‘ TV show soundtrack, which reached Number 1 on the Billboard 200 in both 1985 and 1986.
Jack Tempchin songs have been performed live or recorded by many artists of note, including: George Jones, Tom Waits, Buck Owens, Emmylou Harris, John Fogerty, Glen Campbell, Chris Hillman, Jackson Browne, Dwight Yoakam, Linda Ronstadt, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Jim Lauderdale, Johnny Duncan, Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, Randy Meisner, Sammy Kershaw, Kate Wolf, Tom Rush, Little Texas, The Paladins, New Riders Of the Purple Sage, Olivia Newton-John, Wilson-Philips, Brett Dennen, Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20) and Jim James (My Morning Jacket), among other greats.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens came of age amid the creativity and excitement of London’s West End with its many theatres, cinemas, and folk clubs. Musical success came quickly both as a performer and as a songwriter. Singles such as “I Love My Dog” and “Matthew & Son” established Cat as a pop star, however, his songs were also hits for other artists such as The Tremeloes with “Here Comes My Baby” and P.P. Arnold with “The First Cut is the Deepest” – the latter going on to be a massive hit across five decades for artists including Rod Stewart, Sheryl Crow, and Keith Hampshire.
In 1968 Cat emerged from a near fatal bout of Tuberculosis as a spiritual seeker with a new stripped-down style. Albums such as Tea for the Tillerman, and Teaser and the Firecat saw him ascend to the top echelons of superstardom with fans worldwide captivated by iconic songs such as “Wild World,” “Father & Son,” “Oh Very Young” and “Moonshadow.” Set to honest and intimate acoustic arrangements, the lyrics of his songs reflected aspirations of a better world using some of the most imaginative symbolism of his or any generation. Cat’s success continued through the 70s where he would also show himself to be a musical innovator. His experimental techno-pop instrumental “Was Dog A Doughnut?” has been hailed by the likes of The Roots’ Questlove and Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA as having had a profound influence on the birth of hip-hop and electro genres.
1977 saw Cat embrace Islam and a year later he changed his name to Yusuf. He spent almost three decades dedicated to charity, education, raising a family, and exploring his faith. He wasn’t completely absent from music, however, as he became a pioneer of the English Nasheed (devotional) genre in the West, releasing spoken word recordings as well as much loved albums for children including A is for Allah and I Look, I See.
In 2006 Yusuf / Cat Stevens made his full return to the music industry and he has recorded a further four albums to date including 2017’s GRAMMY nominated The Laughing Apple. The universality of his message of peace has resulted in his songs being absorbed into the public consciousness and the timelessness of his music is perhaps best summed up “Peace Train,” a seminal anthem of hope and unity which is as relevant today as it was in the 70s.
In addition to his music, Yusuf / Cat Stevens is the recipient of numerous international humanitarian awards. He has also received some of the most prestigious awards for a songwriter including ASCAP Songwriter of the Year in 2005 (also Song of the Year) and again in 2006 for “The First Cut is the Deepest,” the 2007 Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,500 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, 914-579-1000. Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs. Songwriters Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 organization. The non-deductible portion of each ticket is $170. Contributions, for which no goods or services are received in exchange, are fully tax-deductible as provided by law.