Garth Brooks, Billy Joel perform together during Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony
Garth Brooks and Leon Russell were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame Thursday night (6/16) during an awards ceremony in New York City. Additional inductees included John Bettis, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly, and Allen Toussaint. Special awards were presented to Barry Mann and Cynthia Well, Drake, Chaka Khan, Ervin Drake and Hal David.
Entertainment at the induction and awards dinner included Brooks with Billy Joel -- in matching black cowboy hats -- performing "Shameless," according to a press release. Khan belted out "I'm Every Woman," Russell played "A Song for You" and Trish Yearwood (Brooks' wife) sang a medley tribute to Hal David that included "What The World Needs Now."
Songwriting partners Steinberg and Kelly performed the hit they penned for Madonna, "Like A Virgin" followed by Chrissie Hynde, who reportedly captivated the crowd with The Pretenders' hit "I'll Stand By You," which she co-wrote with songwriting team.
Sam Moore and Bill Medley sang Mann and Weil's "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" in honor of the songwriting team, who received the Johnny Mercer Award -- the highest honor from the SHOF. Their body of work also includes "On Broadway" (with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stroller) and the Grammy-nominated "Don't Know Much" (with Tom Snow).
Special award honorees also included Drake, who was presented with the Hal David Starlight Award by Jimmy Jam. The honor is yearly bestowed on gifted songwriters who are making significant impact in the music industry today via their original songs.
Chaka Khan was this year's recipient of the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award for her outstanding accomplishments in the music industry.
This year's Towering Song Award for "It Was A Very Good Year" was presented to Ervin Drake, and performed by actor/songwriter Dominic Chianese. The song, originally recorded by Bob Shane of The Kingston Trio in 1961, has subsequently been released by numerous artists including Don McLean, Richie Havens, Lou Rawls, Earth Kitt, The Flaming Lips, Robbie Williams and Ray Charles (as a duet with Willie Nelson). However, it was Frank Sinatra's 1965 version of the Drake-penned song that took home a Grammy Award.
SHOF Chairman Emeritus Hal David was the recipient of the first ever Visionary Leadership Award for his 10 years of service as the organization's Chairman and CEO.