(AP) Seger, Lightfoot among Songwriter Hall inductees
By JOHN CARUCCI
Stevie Nicks prefers writing a song over meeting a handsome prince. Ne-Yo claimed songwriting saved his life. And Bob Seger said writing a song is the hardest, yet most rewarding thing that he does.
Converging opinions thrived at the 43rd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in New York where Seger, along with Canadian folk rocker Gordon Lightfoot, “Gambler” songwriter Don Schlitz, and Jim Steinman of “Bat Out of Hell” fame became the latest members of the prestigious club. The writers of the long-running musical “The Fantasticks” were also inducted.
Seger opened the show with a spirited version of his 1973 classic, “Turn the Page.” He was then inducted by Valerie Simpson who performed “We’ve Got Tonight” in his honor.
On the red carpet before the performance, Simpson said that steamy track has a very special power.
Ne-Yo was honored with the Hal David Starlight Award. It’s given to young artists who are making a significant impact with their original music.
Then he explained how writing songs saved him.
After being inducted by Swizz Beatz, Ne-Yo told the crowd of nearly 900 that he didn’t prepare a speech because he still didn’t believe he was standing there.
While Nicks was not inducted, she did honor Bette Midler with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, and even performed “The Rose,’ the song made famous by Midler in the 1979 movie of the same name.
Lightfoot, known for such hits as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Sundown,” performed his haunting 1970 ode to his failed marriage, “If You Could Read My Mind.”
On the red carpet he explained his motivation: “My life had been a bit of a roller coaster. I think at that time I was going through the lower dip and sort of climbing up again.”
Over the years, artists from Barbra Streisand to Johnny Cash covered the song.
One of the evening’s funniest moments came from Jim Steinman, who wrote songs for Meat Loaf on his first two “Bat Out of Hell” albums. After Loaf and Constantine Maroulis performed an abridged version of the nearly 10-minute title track, Steinman noted: “They shortened the song so much I felt like I was watching an episode of `Glee.'”
The Songwriters Hall of Fame was created in 1969 by a group of established songwriters, including the legendary Johnny Mercer. The organization’s mission is to shine a spotlight on the accomplishments of songwriters.
John Carucci covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/jcarucci_ap